Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Species in news: Jungle Fowl

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Jungle Fowl

Mains level : NA

A recent study by scientists has revealed new details about the earliest domestication of chicken from the Jungle Fowl.

Try this question from CSP 2012:

Q.What is the difference between the antelopes’ Oryx and Chiru?

(a) Oryx is adapted to live in hot and arid areas like Africa and Arabia whereas Chiru is adapted to live in steppes and semi-desert areas of cold high mountains of Tibetan Plateau.

(b) Oryx is poached for its antlers whereas Chiru is poached for its musk

(c) Oryx exists in western India only whereas Chiru exists in northeast India only.

(d) None of the statements (a), (b) and (c) given above is correct.

Jungle Fowl

  • The DNA sequencing of 863 genomes has shown the first domestication of chicken occurred in southwestern China, northern Thailand and Myanmar.
  • The study involved sequencing of genomes from all four species of the genus Gallus, five subspecies of Red Jungle Fowl and various domestic chicken breeds collected worldwide.
  • It revealed single domestication from Red Jungle Fowl sub-species Gallus spadiceous.
  • The study also demonstrated that all five Red Jungle Fowl sub-species were genetically differentiated from each other approximately 50,000 years ago much earlier than domestication.
  • The results contradicted the earlier claim that chickens were domesticated in northern China and the Indus Valley.

Domestication of Chicken

  • The question of domestication of chickens has intrigued scientists for centuries and has been the subject of debate.
  • Charles Darwin postulated that chickens were domesticated around 4,000 B.C. from a single ancestor, Red Jungle Fowl in the Indus Valley.
  • An important study published earlier from Uppsala University claimed the Grey Jungle Fowl had contributed to chicken domestication.
  • With this, a couple of studies from India, China and other South-Asian countries have argued the monophyletic origin of chicken.
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