Cats Domesticated Themselves, Ancient DNA Shows

A comprehensive survey of cat genes suggests that even after felines wandered into our lives, they remained largely unchanged for thousands of years. In true feline form, cats took their time deciding whether to jump into humans’ laps. In a new study of the spread of domesticated cats, DNA analysis suggests that cats lived for thousands of years alongside humans. During that time, their genes have changed little from those of wildcats, apart from picking up one recent tweak: the distinctive stripes and dots of the tabby cat. Researchers surveyed the DNA of more than 200 cats spanning the last 9,000 years, including ancient Romanian cat remains, Egyptian cat mummies, and modern African wildcat specimens. Two major cat lineages contributed to the domestic feline we know today. Overall, cats became a domesticated companion of humans without changing much, but they aren’t solitary, tolerating both humans and other cats. There was no need to subject cats to such a selection process to change them such as with dogs “They were perfect as they were. Felines are among the most popular pets in the world today……Ed

Source: Casey Smith / Photo: Joel Sartore, National Geographic

Posted in All Stories, Ed McMahon

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