The chicken that came first

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The Independent Online
Scientists have discovered the mother of all chickens. The ancestor of every domestic hen is a subspecies of jungle fowl that lives in the forests of South-east Asia, writes Steve Connor.

Genetic analysis of farm chickens throughout the world has found that their closest living relative is the red jungle fowl of Thailand, a finding that pushes back the known point of domestication by several thousand years.

The chicken owes its existence to early farmers who lived more than 8,000 years ago, Japanese researchers report today in the journal The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.