Around the world, there are 20 types of wild and about 70 domestic quail breeds or strains, including laboratory and commercial quail. Although all domestic quails were derived from wild strains, many obvious differences are evident today. However, how these differences occurred and which wild population was the first to be domesticated, remains unclear. This paper systematically presents the history of the development of domestic quail in China from 770 B.C. to the end of the 20 century. Taking into account recent research on some structural loci of domestic and wild quail, and in the light of recent survey reports of the present general situation of these birds, particularly in respect of their ecological performance and differences between wild and domestic quail, this review puts forward a new thesis forresolving the current uncertainty about the origin of domestic quail. It is suggested that unlike those of Japanese origin, Chinese quail are probably the earlier and more direct ancestorof most kinds of the domestic quail found around the world. Moreover, the review analyzes the possible evolutionary path to domestic quail, which is mainly a result of the flow of people from Japan to China. On the assumption that more and more wild quail populations are endangered, it aims to provide a basis forrenewing knowledge of wild quail resources and supporting the protection and use of these valuable worldwide stocks. This is especially important in China, the last country in the world to have so many wild quail populations. Furthermore, this new insight can promote and assist the world commercial quail industry to develop and flourish.