Pavo, the super chicken!

Actually we’re talking about peafowl today,
(Figs. 1–4) larger and more elaborate sisters to domestic chickens in the LRT (Fig. 5).

Figure 1. Pavo, the peafowl, skull. Compare to Gallus, the chicken.

Figure 1. Pavo, the peafowl, skull. Compare to Gallus, the chicken.

A very chicken-like skeleton
includes metatarsal spurs on Pavo (Fig. 2). Do these arise from a reinvigorating of pedal digit 5? At least the ‘parts’ (= genes) are in the ‘toolbox’ (cells) to do this. Perhaps this is a new expression of those genes, as in the new expression of digit zero in the manus of the screamer (genus Chauna).

Figure 2. Peafowl skeleton. Select bones colorized.

Figure 2. Peafowl skeleton. Select bones colorized.

That giant famous tail on peacocks
does not prevent them from flying (Fig. 3).

Figure 2. Peacock flying.

Figure 3. Peacock flying.

The whole point of a peacock’s feathers
is to catch the eye of a choosy peafowl who will ultimately allow a suitable suitor to mate with her (Fig. 4).

Figure 3. Peafowl mating. The males stands crouched upon the back and hips of the female.

Figure 4. The point of all those feathers and behaviors: peafowl mating. The males stands crouched upon the back and hips of the female.

Pavo nests with
Gallus (extant) and Eogranivora (Early Cretaceous), between the sparrow (Passer) and the corn crake (Crex) in the large reptile tree (LRT, 1201 taxa).

Figure 5. Subset of the LRT nesting Pavo the peafowl with Gallus the chicken.

Figure 5. Subset of the LRT nesting Pavo the peafowl with Gallus the chicken.

Pavo cristatus (Linneaus 1758) The extant Indian peacock (peafowl) nests between Eogranivora and Gallus in the LRT. Only the male carries the extraordinary plumage.

References
Linnaeus C 1758. Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata.

wiki/Peafowl

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