Have you ever pondered on the origins of the domestic chicken? I thought not. Read on..
Chickens seem have been domesticated by around 7,500 years ago, most probably from the wild Red Junglefowl, Gallus gallus. We saw this one in Kaziranga: just look at him:
In close-up he is draped in blazing orange feathered locks, just like Lizzie Siddall*:
And he is equipped with spurs that are not to be trifled with; they have a bony core and an outer horny layer, and are formed for the vestiges of the former fifth toe, which most birds have lost completely:
Our domestic roosters just can’t compete.
There is some fear that truly wild Red Junglefowl are becoming rare because of contamination of the gene pool by domestic chickens. Let’s hope not.
*Lizzie Siddall was a pre-Raphaelite artist, and also the wife, muse and model for her husband Dante Gabriel Rossetti. She was famous for her red hair:
Or if you prefer you could imagine The Red Woman, Melisandre, from Game of Thrones, played by Carice van Houten!