In the current issue of the Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club (Dec. 2017):
On Temminck’s tailless Ceylon Junglefowl, and how Darwin denied their existence
Hein van Grouw, Wim Dekkers, and Kees Rookmaaker
Abstract Ceylon Junglefowl was described in 1807 by the Dutch ornithologist
Coenraad Jacob Temminck. The specimens he examined were tailless (‘rumpless’)
and therefore he named them Gallus ecaudatus. In 1831 the French naturalist René
Primevère Lesson described a Ceylon Junglefowl with a tail as Gallus lafayetii (=
lafayetii), apparently unaware of Temminck’s ecaudatus. Subsequently, ecaudatus
and lafayetii were realised to be the same species, of which G. stanleyi and G.
lineatus are junior synonyms. However, Charles Darwin tried to disprove the
existence of wild tailless junglefowl on Ceylon in favour of his theory on the origin
of the domestic chicken.
Thank you to the second author for bringing this article – which is freely available as a PDF here – to my attention. Enjoy!