Originally posted by Polynikes
Sounds pretty good. Does this protochicken still exist at all, or has it become extinct? What were some of it's more primitive features? Did it have fully developed senses yet?
Better yet, can someone reccomend a book, a museum, or ...[text shortened]... ith each other. That would be awesome to find out! Thanks, guys!
The problem with answering your question is that you misunderstand the theory of evolution (TOE). Instead of organisms jumping from species to species, there's a very gradual change. Species differentiate not by one species coming from another, but from one parent species being separated somehow so they do not interbreed and then evolving separately.
I don't know the specific mechanism by which the chicken evolved, and don't have any specific ideas about it, because I don't care enough to spend the time to look into it. Your questions can only really be answered by you deciding exactly how far back in time you stop calling the bird a chicken.
The common ancestor of your list was probably a small rodent like animal, but I haven't really looked into the theories or fossil evidence behind the TOE in that kind of depth.
The idea of "species" are a scientific classification that does not perfectly fit in with nature. It's pretty good, but not perfect. For example, horses and donkeys can interbreed to create a third type of animal, the mule or hinny.
OK, I'll put a little time into this.
The breeds and varieties of domestic chickens known today are generally believed to have descended mainly from the Red Jungle Fowl (Gallus bankiva, also called Gallus gallus) of Southeast Asia where it still exists in the wild.
Now, turkeys and chickens have some similarities. As I said, I haven't really looked into the matter, but I imagine the two had a common ancestor at some point in the past. Since chickens seem to have evolved in southeast asia, and turkeys in the New World, I imagine that their common ancestor was separated geographically either by actual continental separation through tectonics or the common ancestor came across the same way the Native Americans did - land bridge, or however they did. The turkeys evolved in America, the chickens evolved in the Old World, and now the two species cannot interbreed (or can they? I have no idea actually).