By studying ancient cat DNA from all over the world, the researchers found that cat domestication began in the Fertile Crescent (in the Neolithic period) and accelerated later in ancient Egypt (in the Classical period) (Ottoni and others 2017). Cats have been with humans for a long time. how the hell did they go from a tiger to a very small cat in comparison? But, dogs, and cats, quickly learned that humans were a good source of food, and affection, and they provided useful services in exchange. Have cats been truly domesticated, or did they domesticate themselves? Cats protected grain from rodents. The big difference is that house cats are more tolerant. Other scientists have also discovered another potential instance of cat domestication. Genetic research published in Science found that all domestic cats (Felis catus) can be traced back to a wildcat in the Middle East called Felis sylvestris, which means cat of the forest in Latin. They lived in forests before they moved into villages. Other animals were domesticated because they provided milk, food, and, clothing. It appears that the conversion from feral to … A theory about these wildcat ancestors, according to Stephen O'Brien of the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Maryland, is that they “just sort of domesticated themselves.” O’Brien said that one of the cat species had a “genetic variance” that made the animals approach humans and hang around, while others were likely captured so that they could hunt mice and other pests for farmers. Cats Domesticated Themselves, Ancient DNA Shows, Cat identification: colors and coat patterns, Long before they conquered the Internet, cats took over the world, The palaeogenetics of cat dispersal in the ancient world, The relationship between coat color and aggressive behaviors in the domestic cat. Tyra Banks apologizes after chaotic ending on ‘DWTS’ Same way most animals were domesticated. A lot of questions remain: there are no ancient American dogs included in most of the data, and Frantz et al. Scientists have also used coat colors and patterns to study other aspects of cats. Eight F. silvestris cat bones were recovered from three ashy pits containing animal bones, pottery sherds, bone and stone tools. when were cats domesticated: We are convinced that we have chosen to bring kitty into our homes, in fact the latest studies show that long ago cats have been tamed humans: this is why. Cats have us do everything for them. According to Diamond, there are six criteria for successful domestication: the animals must be easy to feed; they must grow and mature at a rate that makes economic sense; they have to breed well in captivity to keep the population going; they have to be generally nice animals; they can’t be prone to freak outs; and the social structure of the species has to be strong. Ancient cats lived in the wild for thousands of years and when they became domesticated, they became loved and cared for by the modern-day family! Dogs provided protection, and were able to do things like herd sheep. Ancient cats adjusted to socializing with humans and yearned for more of this social attention and became increasingly comfortable interacting with humans, especially since they were fed plenty of food and were provided with a warm place to live! The size range of these cats falls within that of modern domesticated cats. Have you ever noticed the open resemblance between dogs and wolves? Cows and goats were domesticated for meat and milk while horses and donkeys were kept for transport. According to an extensive DNA analysis of cat genes the domestic cat is descended from wild cats that were tamed twice; once in the Near East and then in Egypt. Cats noticed this, and realized that if they hung around humans, they could have plenty to eat without having to hunt over such a wide range. Explained. when were cats domesticated: We are convinced that we have chosen to bring kitty into our homes, in fact the latest studies show that long ago cats have been tamed humans: this is why. Do you give ancient Egypt credit for the domestication of cats? This suggests that selective breeding for coat color did not appear until the medieval period, much later than the start of cat domestication (Ottoni and others 2017). Brown concluded that younger and lighter colored cats generally find homes more quickly than older and darker colored cats (Brown and Morgan 2014). Simply put, cats self-domesticated themselves. If true, this would indicate that cats were domesticated more than once—in China, and 5000 years earlier in the Middle East. As Nature r eports, after scientists used ancient DNA analysis of geographically and temporally widespread archaeological cat remains, they discovered that both the Near Eastern and … 1. share. However, they did not find evidence that any present day domesticated cats are related to leopards, so if there was a time that they were domesticated, it did not last (Vigne and others 2016). As man started farming, he started domesticating animals. A … Cats are particularly good at killing vermin that spread diseases amongst humans, while humans provide a constant food supply in return. Over the course of time, that mutual relationship led to the breeding of slightly tamer cats than their cousins in the wild, though some would argue that even the house cats of today aren't fully domesticated. Cats were first domesticated in the Near East about 10,000 years ago. Dogs were domesticated at a far earlier point than cats and were seen as companions far earlier into their domestication than cats. This type of Wildcat is similar to a tabby in appearance, with either a steel gray or a grayish-tan coat and darker tabby stripes. A contented cat at Yoder’s Amish Home … near Walnut Creek in central Ohio. Wild cats and domesticated cats still breed, and that means their genetics are constantly intermingling. Luckily for all of us, one person on Tumblr decided to explain how cats were domesticated so we could all enjoy the story. 5 years ago. Ottoni found that the recessive allele found in most tabby cats today that causes a blotched pattern did not appear in their study until the medieval period. Another interesting element of the history of cat domestication has to do with cat coat patterns. Vigne studied skeletal remains of cats in China and found that there may have been a short-lived domestication of leopards in China, independent of domestication elsewhere (Vigne and others 2016). As someone pointed out, a number of other animals were domesticated as well. A 9,500 year old burial in Cyprus represents some of the oldest known evidence of human/cat companionships anywhere in the world. Explained. Kittens crawling on Representative Peter Kostmayer in his Congressional office. This study of cats living 5,300 y ago at the agricultural village of Quanhucun, China provides the earliest known evidence for mutualistic relationships between people and cats. Wes Warren, Ph.D., associate professor of Genetics at the Genome Institute, Washington University, is of the opinion that cats are not fully domesticated. Stelow, Elizabeth A., Melissa J. Bain, and Philip H. Kass. Even know cats have been living under the same roof as people for the past 9,000 years as far as we know today, cat lovers always knew that felines haven’t been completely domesticated by humans, with their “I’ll do it my own way” behavior and somewhat, at times, arrogant attitude. Twitter removes Trump, NFL crossover video. Carol M. Highsmith, photographer. Much of the fossil remains seem to indicate that domestication would have begun in Ancient Egypt around 2000 BCE. Breed the docile. Cat domestication began about 12,000 years ago in an area known as the Fertile Crescent, where our agricultural communities were flourishing. The area in which this occurred is called The Fertile Crescent (encompassing modern day parts of West Asia and Northeastern Africa). This study of cats living 5,300 y ago at the agricultural village of Quanhucun, China provides the earliest known evidence for mutualistic relationships between people and cats. According to evidence provided by researchers, semi-domesticated weasels, or even snakes, were used to … Unfortunately, because cat domestication is believed to have started so long ago, history doesn't offer written manuals that explain every step of the process. Given the subjective nature of the question, there may never be an answer as to whether dogs or cats make better pets. Analyzing the pattern of cat coats is one of the best ways for scientists to distinguish between wild and domesticated cats, since it is one of the few visible differences between the two. Domestication of the cat While dogs were already domesticated by the end of the last Ice Age, some 12,000 years ago, cats were domesticated much later, probably not until agriculture developed and flourished in the "Fertile Crescent" of the Middle East. All domestic cats, the authors declared, descended from a Middle Eastern wildcat, Felis sylvestris, which literally means "cat of the woods." suggest that the two progenitor species were descended from the same initial wolf population and both are now extinct. These studies show that the history of cat domestication and the connection to coat colors and patterns is a topic of interest in the scientific community today. Cats are simply not as domesticated as dogs despite sharing households with humans for at least 9,000 years, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine have found. By 1500 BC, domesticated cats were spread through most of the ancient world. Domestic cats are one of the most popular pets worldwide, but little is known about their domestication. Thousands of years ago, cats hit every mark for people looking to make them pets, though when that happened exactly is still a point of contention. Cats and humans go way back: Some studies suggest cats were first domesticated about 9,000 years ago in the Near East, while others trace cat domestication back to China around 5,000 years ago. Conventional wisdom holds … The latest answer, based on insights from recent archeological discoveries and genome-sequencing studies, is that cats are semi-domesticated. In scientist and author Jared Diamond's 1997 book Guns, Germs, and Steel, he lists failed attempts at domesticating zebras in 19th century South Africa, gazelles in the Fertile Crescent, grizzly cubs in Japan, and cheetahs in India. It is thought that dogs were domesticated by man sometime between 14,000 and 36,000 years ago. What is certain and known, is that historically humans and cats have mutually benefited from one another. The same study asserts that cats were domesticated in the Near East, but there is considerable debate over this issue also. Cats … The study suggests that cats lived for thousands of years alongside humans before they were eventually domesticated. A 9,500 year old burial in Cyprus represents some of the oldest known evidence of human/cat companionships anywhere in the world. A separate study and genetic analysis suggested that domestication of the animals began closer to 12,000 years ago. The evidence from Ottoni’s study also gives an explanation for the way cats spread around the world. Wondering how cats were domesticated? Smithsonian Institution archaeologist Melinda Zeder tells The New Yorker that it’s the mutual relationship that makes cats the “ultimate domesticate.” But the domestication process didn't equal full subservience on the part of the felines. According to a recent study by Claudio Ottoni, cat domestication took place in two strains, but all domestic cats have a common ancestor: the North African / Southwest Asian wildcat, Felis silvestris lybica (Ottoni and others 2017). Popcorn the cat, one of a dozen or so feline residents at Gammons Gulch, a recreated Old West town and the site of dozens of movies, commerical shoots and the like in the remote desert north of Benson in Cochise County, Arizona. “Sometimes they don’t give a damn about you, but they are very much part of your niche. Learn more about the history of dog domestication. Cats … “Let’s learn about cats” are four of the best words in the English language. Cats, along with dogs and horses, are one of the most sought after house pets. All domestic cats, the authors declared, descended from a Middle Eastern wildcat, Felis sylvestris, which literally means "cat of the woods." Wondering how cats were domesticated? But in all likelihood, dogs were domesticated long before cats—that is, if cats are actually even domesticated. “I think what confuses people about cats is that they still carry some of the more aloof behaviors of their solitary wild progenitors,” Zeder said. He also attributes this partial domestication to the cats themselves. By studying the rates of change to the DNA from the specimen they collected, scientists timed the domestication of dogs to between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago. Fun Science Facts from the Library of Congress, Motor Vehicles, Aeronautics, Astronautics. Look at the precious kitty!!! Cats have traditionally been an important animal to human society as a pest-control agent, object of worship and companion animal. How Did Dogs Become Domesticated? “Of the world’s 148 big wild terrestrial herbivorous mammals—the candidates for domestication," he writes, "only 14 passed the test.”. Look at the precious kitty!!! Carol M. Highsmith, photographer. Felis catus has had a very long relationship with humans. That cats are mysterious, elusive and surely never completely tameable animals is now well known: but would you have ever imagined […] It’s not so much that cats were domesticated as that cats and humans developed a kind of partnership. "Cats are domesticated," Zeder said. This is a very logical estimate because the first agricultural practices began in the Middle East around that time. “Our genetic evidence, our archaeological evidence, and our geology all tell us that cats were probably not domesticated more than 8,000 to 10,000 years ago,” Lyons explains. Cats were first domesticated in the Near East, and some of the study authors speculate that the process began up to 12,000 years ago. "But I think what confuses people about cats is that they still carry some of the more aloof behaviors of their solitary wild progenitors. Non-cat-owners probably assumed that cats were domesticated by … It was during this time period that humans first began farming in large numbers in parts of the Middle East, the Indus River Valley region in Pakistan, and the Yellow River Valley region in China. E.A. This allowed cats to spread across the world. The study suggests an increased risk of hyperthyroidism for longhair non-purebred cats, but a decreased risk for many pedigreed longhair cats compared to domestic shorthairs (Crossley and others 2017). The first domesticated cats were thought to have come from the Wildcat, or Kaffir Cat, originating in the forests and deserts of Africa. That’s why domesticated cats can still take care of themselves if they have to. Thanks for the A2A. Non-cat-owners probably assumed that cats were domesticated by people to help with rodent problems and the like, but of course cats made the decision for themselves. Continue breeding, excluding the ones with traits you want to eliminate. When humans started storing grain and other such foods, the food attracted rats and mice. And, it turns out, the cats. Ancient Egyptians may have first domesticated cats as early as 4,000 years ago. When Did Dog Domestication Begin? “Let’s learn about cats” are four of the best words in the English language. But how did it happen? Answer. Domesticated cats all come from wildcats called Felis silvestris lybica that originated in the Fertile Crescent in the Near East Neolithic period and in ancient Egypt in the Classical period. Cat domestication began about 12,000 years ago in an area known as the Fertile Crescent, where our agricultural communities were flourishing. Well, it turns out that dogs evolved from a wolf species. Dogs were domesticated at a far earlier point than cats and were seen as companions far earlier into their domestication than cats. Makes you wonder—who's domesticating whom. The modern domestic cat is descended from a wild ancestor called Felis silvestris lybica. Being social or able to be tamed, the Egyptian cat most certainly demonstrated qualities that were perceived as attractive to most humans. These wildcats can still be found in Africa, southern Asia, and Europe. This type of Wildcat is similar to a tabby in appearance, with either a steel gray or a grayish-tan coat and darker tabby stripes. National Geographic reports: Mice and rats were attracted to crops and other agricultural byproducts being produced by human civilizations. 7 comments. The researchers studied DNA from archeological sites in Ireland and Germany. Archaeologists have found evidence that suggests that cats in Cyprus were domesticated around 9500 years ago, long before the love affair with cats began in Ancient Egypt. A look at the general topic of domestication can give us a clearer picture. According to Smithsonian, cat remains have not made their domestication timeline any clearer, because house cats and wildcats have similar skeletons. Cats As Pets: How Felines Became Domesticated . How cats were domesticated still isn’t known for sure, however, many highly educated theories have been proposed. Although they were wild, eventually felines and humans found an equal benefit from one another when farming attracted rats. Cats are "domesticated" because humans enjoy having them around, and the cats are just responsive enough to their "masters" to allow the humans to have affection for them. Kill or release the most aggressive. But seriously: get ready to learn a whole lot about the number one option for a pet. This begs the question: why were cats domesticated by man? The lack of difference between wild cats and domesticated cats may also be due to genetic mixing. Archived. There are two difficulties inherent in determining when and how cats were domesticated: one is that domesticated cats can and do interbreed with their feral cousins; the other is that the primary indicator of cat domestication is their sociability or docility, traits not easily identified in the archaeological record. Note: Current taxonomy does not tend to treat F. silvestris, F. lybica F. catus, and F. bieti as the same species. 1926. Our grain storehouses attracted lots of mice, which then attracted lots of cats … Knowing their notoriously independent natures, you may be surprised to hear that they chose us rather than the other way around. No matter what they went through, they managed to survive and thrive in this world and are forever known as survivors of ancient/domestic cats! Cats are "domesticated" because humans enjoy having them around, and the cats are just responsive enough to their "masters" to allow the humans to have affection for them. Close. There were two populations of dogs in the Paleolithic, goes the hypothesis, but one of them—the European Paleolithic dog—is now extinct. Regardless of the exact location and time, the domestication of dogs occurred prior to written history. In Medieval Poland, cats were not as popular as we could think. But cats entered into the human sphere relatively more recently, probably around 5,000 to 10,000 years ago, and can still do well without someone opening a can for them. Crossley found that depending on their breed, coat color, and hair length, cats may be more susceptible to hyperthyroidism (Crossley and others 2017). ELI5: Why and how were cats domesticated? Their history has been studied using mitochondrial DNA, which suggests that they split into different species about 100,000 years ago. Did Cats Domesticate Themselves? But seriously: get ready to learn a whole lot about the number one option for a pet. “Cats were first domesticated over 5000 years ago and have since become one of the most popular pets in the world. Cats were pretty much perfect as they were. The first domesticated cats were thought to have come from the Wildcat, or Kaffir Cat, originating in the forests and deserts of Africa. It’s believed that the domestication started when a population of wolves moved to the outskirts of hunter-gather camps to scavenge for leftovers. Starting in the Middle East, cats were domesticated about 9,500 years ago. Being social or able to be tamed, the Egyptian cat most certainly demonstrated qualities that were perceived as attractive to most humans. House cats share 95.6 percent of their DNA with tigers, but despite how adorable they can be, most people probably wouldn't want the latter as a pet. Between litter training, the small size of house cats, and a cat’s independent spirit gives these sweet creatures something to bond with when they pick their humans. However, some recent discoveries have begun to propose new challenges to this theory, bringing further controversy to the origin of the domestic cat. Report: Kamala Harris coverage was racist and sexist. Our grain storehouses attracted lots of mice, which then attracted lots of cats … The study suggested that cats became "domesticated" mainly because cats just hung around, and domesticated themselves. Cats are simply not as domesticated as dogs despite sharing households with humans for at least 9,000 years, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine have found. Cats were pretty much perfect as they were. However, cats instinctively have an independent personality, but there are some that become attached to their … In several countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, there are more cats than any other pet. J.D. If cats were totally independent of humans, paying human wishes no attention, … Domestic cats are one of the most popular pets worldwide, but little is known about their domestication. how the hell did they go from a tiger to a very small cat in comparison? We clean their litter, stroke them, admire them, but unlike dogs they do not have to constantly please and satisfy our needs." By analyzing the ancient DNA of cat remains found in port cities, the scientists concluded that cats were brought along on ships, most likely to help protect food storages on board by killing rodents (Ottoni and others 2017). But in reality, we didn’t know much about its domestication process and early anthropogenic dispersal until recently. If cats were totally independent of humans, paying human wishes no attention, … Two of the cat jaw bones were radiocarbon dated between 5560-5280 cal BP. Cats were first domesticated in the Near … By 12,000 years ago they were farming and storing grain in the Levant; and as farming spread, so did the mice. By 1500 BC, domesticated cats were spread through most of the ancient world. To understand how cats became pets, you have to understand what it means for a species to be domesticated. Posted by. Wild cats and domesticated cats still breed, and that means their genetics are constantly intermingling. The lack of difference between wild cats and domesticated cats may also be due to genetic mixing. There is also some ambiguity on the actual domestication process itself. Stelow used an online survey study and found that there may be a slightly better chance for tortoiseshell, calico, gray and white, and black and white cats to be more aggressive than others (Stelow and others 2015). Get a sizable number of them. Cats were first domesticated at least 5,300 years ago, study shows December 18, 2013 / 7:01 PM / CBS News We log into live streams of cats sitting in front of Christmas-themed fireplaces. In Medieval Poland, cats were not as popular as we could think. Many experts are also curious as to whether there is a link between coat color and behavior. By bringing the cats in as rodent killers, early domesticators may have given them certain amenities (like warmth and food) that persuaded the cats to stay. “Cats, unlike dogs, are really only semi-domesticated,” Warren says in a news release. For example, V.J. The Fertile Crescent, 8,000 years ago, is where cats began to see that maybe a life with humans could work and decided to domesticate … Researchers comparing the genomes of domestic cats with that of wild felines reveal the genetic underpinnings of domestication. The analysis looks specifically at how cats were domesticated by examining DNA from cat remains across time and geography. Ideally, every animal served a particular purpose. “They only recently split off from wild cats, and some even still breed with their wild relatives. Others, over time were domesticated because they could do work. If true, this would indicate that cats were domesticated more than once—in China, and 5000 years earlier in the Middle East. So How Were Dogs Domesticated? That’s why domesticated cats can still take care of themselves if they have to. Ancient Egyptians worshipped a cat goddess and had their beloved pets mummified and buried with them, … W.P. Domesticated cats all come from wildcats called Felis silvestris lybica that originated in the Fertile Crescent in the Near East Neolithic period and in ancient Egypt in the Classical period. Archaeologists have found evidence that suggests that cats in Cyprus were domesticated around 9500 years ago, long before the love affair with cats began in Ancient Egypt. That cats are mysterious, elusive and surely never completely tameable animals is now well known: but would you have ever imagined […] There is still much to learn about the history of cat domestication. That’s what many people think! u/jwgibbo. National Photo Co. Woman holding cat. If dogs were domesticated twice, that puts them in a rare category along with pigs and possibly cats. Another question is whether coat color impacts the length of time a cat will stay in a shelter. While big cats and our furry friends have several other things in common, one of the main differences is that many years ago, people successfully domesticated Felis catus. However, they also make it clear that domestic cats and wildcats remain nearly identical. 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