Cat domestication may have started in China
2013 12 17

By Akshat Rathi | Descrier

There has been much debate about how cats went from hunting in the wild to a much-loved pet. That is because we know little about their domestication. Now researchers have found the earliest case of cat domestication, which happens to be in China, along with the first direct evidence of how it may have happened.

The oldest record of a cat’s association with humans comes from Cyprus where, about 9,500 years ago, a young wildcat was buried with a human. Egyptian art and cat mummies reveal that, by 4,000 years ago, cats had become loved pets. So it is clear that domestication happened in between these two dates. But many questions remains: how, where and when did it happen?

In a new study, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Yaowu Hu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Fiona Marshall of Washington University in St Louis, and their colleagues try to answer those questions. “We have never before been able to show the nature of the relationship that resulted in domestication, especially for an animal that is solitary like cats and so rare in archaeological sites. So it was surprising to be able to document this at all,” Marshall said.

Like most evolutionary adaptations, domestication of animals can happen in multiple ways. A mutually-beneficial relationship can drive small changes that lead to a permanent change in behaviour, with or without direct human meddling. Or it could be that a prey’s numbers dwindled because of excessive hunting, which forced humans to come up with smarter animal management ideas, such as herding, that led to domestication.

The latter happened to sheep, goats and cattle. The former it was thought must have happened to cats, dogs and pigs. And thanks to Hu and Marshall, we now have evidence in case of cats. It comes from Quanhucun, a site in central China, that was a human settlement about 6,000 years ago. Archaeologists have discovered houses, storage pits, pottery, and some floral and faunal remains there, but few human burials. Piecing all the evidence together makes a compelling case for how domestication of cats may have happened.

[...]

Read the full article at: descrier.co.uk



Related Articles
Cats Recognize Their Owner’s Voice But Chose to Ignore It
“Guard cats” in public service
Cats Outnumber Humans On Japan’s Cat Island
Man Divorces Wife Over Her 550 Cats
Dogs Likely Originated in Europe More Than 18,000 Years Ago
Pet owners increasingly using medical marijuana to help their pets feel better
Medical insanity: Prozac prescriptions rise sharply in family pets
Beauteous beasts: should we draw the line at genetically modified pets?
Did ancient Siberians domesticate horses 50,000 years ago?


Latest News from our Front Page

Starbucks Supports Pro-GMO Company
2014 11 26
Another reason why you should not go to Starbucks. Starbucks has an image of being a socially responsible, environmentally friendly company (Really?). In 2013, 95 percent of their coffee was ethically sourced, and their goal is to reach 100 percent by 2015.1 Other goals include reducing water consumption by 25 percent in their company-operated stores by 20152 and mobilizing their employees and ...
Group Polarization and the Fad of Ethno-masochism
2014 11 26
From "Group polarization: A critical review and meta-analysis". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 6 50 (6): 1141--1151 The psychology of White self hatred. Political correctness IS a mental disorder. More: Group polarization: A critical review and meta-analysis. Isenberg, Daniel J. the paper Indoctrinate U Harvard Professor Noel Ignatiev talks about how to end the White race The History of Political Correctness The Narrative: The origins of Political ...
Credo: A Nietzschean Testament by Jonathan Bowden
2014 11 26
This lecture by Jonathan Bowden was given at the 11th New Right meeting in London on September 8, 2007. The original title of the presentation was “The Art and Philosophy of Jonathan Bowden.” I think ideas are inborn, and you’re attracted, if you have any, toward certain systems of thinking and sensibility and response. From a very young age, I was ...
A Look Back at the OJ Simpson Verdict -- Reactions
2014 11 26
This is a look back at the different reactions to the OJ Simpson verdict some 20 years ago (exact date of verdict was Oct 3, 1995). The OJ Simpson jury consisted of 9 Blacks, 1 Hispanic, and 2 Whites. It would raise eyebrows after they only deliberated for 4 hours in a case that they were involved in for almost ...
New York Times Publishes Darren Wilson’s Street Address and Photo of House #Ferguson
2014 11 26
Hey here are the two @nytimes scumbags that published Wilson’s home address. —> @juliebosman & @campbellnyt— Ben Howe (@BenHowe) November 25, 2014 Michael Brown’s Stepdad Shouting ‘Burn This Bitch Down’ The New York Times published information about the address of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on Monday in a move that has generated controversy. Tensions are running high in Ferguson, Missouri, as ...
More News »