| Lithograph of Gallus ecaudatus, based on specimen RMNH. AVES.224888, by Jean-Gabriel Prêtre prepared c.1806 for an illustrated work in three volumes that Temminck intended to publish on pigeons and Galliformes.|
in van Grouw, Dekkers & Rookmaaker, 2017.
Bull. B.O.C. 137(4)
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.
‘The tailless cock inhabits the immense forests of the island of Ceylon’ (Temminck 1813: 268).
‘… but this statement [tailless fowls are wild in Ceylon] … is uterly false’ (Darwin 1868: 259).
Hein van Grouw, Wim Dekkers and Kees Rookmaaker. 2017. On Temminck’s Tailless Ceylon Junglefowl, and How Darwin denied their Existence. Bull. B.O.C. 137(4); 261-271