Any ideas on the identity of this fine bird?
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A bit wide of the mark, William! Although cryptic, this week’s beast isn’t cryptid…
Is it Gallus gallus, the Red junglefowl (female); a type of tropical pheasant thought to be an ancestor – possibly hybridised with the Grey junglefowl – of the domestic chicken?
Excellent work, Kay – this is a female red jungle fowl which of course is the wild ancestor of the modern domesticated chicken. The history of domestication in the chicken is not well understood and so there is much research effort being put into tracing the genetic evidence. By utilising genetic diversity in jungle fowl we may be able to breed ‘better’ chickens, potentially resistant to illness and having favourable meat/egg producing qualities.
Be sure to take a look at the recent article in Science: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/338/6110/1020.full
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Giraffes at Chester Zoo enjoying their lunch.
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