The Origin of the Chicken

From whence the humble chicken? Gallus gallus is a domesticated chicken-like bird (thus, the name “chicken”) that originates in southeast Asia. Ever since Darwin we’ve known that the chicken originated in southeast Asia, although the exact details of which one or more of several possible jungle fowls is the primal form has been debated. The idea that more than one wild species contributed to the early chicken has been on the table for a long time, though perhaps not as long as the chickens themselves have been on the table.

Not only is this Year in Review story about the origin of the Chicken about chickens, but it is also about Darwin, and it includes the most downloaded photograph from this blog, a picture of a chicken.


  1. #1 Ricky
    December 24, 2008

    A fantastic review paper on chickens can be found here.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    December 25, 2008

    I was going to read that paper but I became afraid.

  3. #3 John M Kayemba-Kagwa
    Kampala, Uganda
    April 17, 2016

    Good stuff. But I wonder! According to folklore (very realistic), there were chickens in this place, long before any foreigner came here. Did they fly across seas?