Cats Were Domesticated In China 5000 Years Ago

Posted: Jan 27 2016, 10:51pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Cats were Domesticated in China 5000 Years Ago
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  • Cats tamed in China as long ago as 5000 Years in the Past

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It has been found that felines were tamed in China as long ago as 5000 years in the past.

The question stands as an enigma. Were cats domesticated in China in 3000 B.C. ? A team of researchers pondered over the question and studied the fossil remains of felines.

The group included experts from both China and the UK. The remains of cats in agricultural areas of China were studied. The exact date of the fossil remains was 3500 B.C. Most of the bones were from the leopard.

This is a cousin of the wildcat found in the west. Almost all the modern cats are descended from the western wildcat. The pattern is similar to what we see in the Near East and Egypt where cats and humans interacted during the agricultural era that spanned many centuries.

The findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE on January 22, 2016. As a pet animal, the ordinary house cat is the most commonly domesticated creature on the face of the earth today.

All of today’s cats are from the lineage of the western wildcat. After the birth of agriculture, human species and cats began the long process of interaction between domesticator and domesticated.

Did the Chinese have a link with small cats in the B.C. era? Or did these cats arrive from the Near East?

The decision is a hard one to make since the evidence is not sufficient enough to reach a conclusion.

There are four types of small cats in China. The species from which they are derived (the western wildcat) has never been seen in the region. A geometric morphometric analysis was made of the remains of the ancient cats in China.

The jawbones of five cats from Shaanxi and Henan were studied in detail. The bones belonged to the leopard cat. This cat is known to prowl around areas where there are human settlements.

Since the agricultural centers had storehouses of grains, the rodents were attracted to them. And the cats followed them in search of food. This process is like what happened in the Near East and Egypt.

But the patterns that occurred there are different from what occurred in China. Whatever the case, cat domestication began with the rise of agriculture. The exact route the various species of cats took to reach China is unknown.

Was it the Silk Road or some other pathway?

Only time will tell.

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