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Feline friends: Cats took their time on the path to domestication

In true feline form, cats took their time deciding whether to jump into humans’ laps.

In a new comprehensive study of the spread of domesticated cats, DNA analysis suggests that cats lived for thousands of years alongside humans before they were domesticated…

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, they report in a study published …in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Surprisingly, wild and domestic cats showed no major differences in their genetic makeup, and one of the few traits available for telling them apart was the tabby coat marking.

Overall, cats became a domesticated companion of humans without changing much, says evolutionary geneticist and article coauthor Eva-Maria Geigl. Domestic cats look similar to wildcats, but they aren’t solitary, tolerating both humans and other cats.

This is in contrast to dogs, the first animals to be domesticated, Geigl adds. Dogs were selected to perform specific tasks—which never was the case for cats—and this selection for particular traits is what led to dogs’ diversification to the many breeds we see today.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Cats Domesticated Themselves, Ancient DNA Shows 

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
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