Fowl usually refers to birds belonging to one of two biological orders, namely the gamefowl or landfowl (Galliformes) and the waterfowl (Anseriformes). It happens that birds in these groups are good to eat, and often hunted by gun. So the word 'fowl' may be used for a gamebird.
Studies of anatomical and molecular similarities suggest these two groups are close evolutionary relatives. Together, they form the fowl clade, the Galloanserae. This clade is also supported by morphological and DNA sequence data, as well as retrotransposon data.
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- Kriegs et al. 2007. Waves of genomic hitchhikers shed light on the evolution of gamebirds (Aves: Galliformes). BMC Evolutionary Biology 7: 190 (Fulltext). Archived 1 February 2010 at WebCite