Wednesday, 5 July 2017

How Cats Came In From The Wild

Your cat may now be snuggled up looking like a little angel, but his ancestors were lean, mean hunting machines.

Scientists have discovered through DNA investigations that all domesticated cats descended from  a rodent-hunting African subspecies. This species was first tamed by Near East farmers 9,000 years ago.

Using genetic material taken from mummified cats in Egypt, Viking graveyards and Stone Age sites researchers traced the journey of cats from wild hunters to pampered pusses. The DNA showed that all tamed cats today descend from the African wildcat or Felis silvestris lybica, a subspecies found in North Africa and the Near East.

African wildcat or Felis silvestris lybica

Scientists confirmed  that the path to domestication probably began when early farmers in the Near East began to stockpile grain about 9,000 years ago. DNA suggests that migrating farmers took cats with them as they moved into Europe. There was a second wave of domestication that had its roots in Egypt.

The DNA from one cat came from the ancient Red Sea port of Berenike where the Romans traded from 2,000 years ago. The Vikings carried cats on their boats too, to keep rodent stowaways under control at sea.

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  1. One may mention that most cats don't seem all that domesticated most of the time...

  2. I guess cats have always been popular.:)

  3. I do agree, they are not all that domesticated are they? The Egyptians used to worship cats too I understand. Cats always know when they are on to a good thing.

  4. I think cats domesticated humans. ~nods~ Shipping and farming would not be the same without them.

  5. I'm glad I have a couch and don't need to be a wild hunter.

  6. Cats are truly exquisite creatures! I'm fascinated and in awe. I find it interesting that a lot of experts claim that cats aren't truly domesticated (namely because we can't claim to regulate their breeding like most people do with dogs).


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