Captain's Cabin

Pirate Lord of the Platinum Coast
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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy Back Wednesday

black cat,Diamond
Click on image to bigify.

Many people know what dogs were domesticated from wolves, but what about cats? How did they come to live with humans? A study published in the July 2007 issue of the journal "Science" helps answer that question. Using genetic methods, scientists from the National Cancer Institute and the University of Oxford report that the origins of the common household cat can be traced back 100,000 years to ancestors in the Middle East. This much earlier than the earliest archaeological evidence of feline domestication that dates back 9,500 years to Cyprus.

By looking at the DNA of wildcats and domestic cats, the research team found five matriarchal lines from which all modern domestic cats have descended. Their ancestors, the Near Eastern (Asian) Wildcat (Felis Sivestris Ornata), still lives in Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries. It is believed that the domestic cat's ancestors become helpful to early farmers by hunting rodents and that domestication evolved out of the relationship between humans and cats. In turn, cats followed their human companions as they migrated across the globe.

"The cats just sort of domesticated themselves. People today know that you can't keep a cat inside [without barriers], and 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent you couldn't just shut the window," said geneticist Carlos Driscoll in a National Geographic article.

Cat studies of all types are hindered by the many physical and behavioral similarities between domestic cats and their wild relatives. In fact, it is often difficult or impossible for even the trained eye to tell them apart, and interbreeding has created many hybrids of the two.

It is still however, believed that domestic cats developed their long standing relations with humans in Egypt, and that the spread of domestic cats across the globe started with domestics smuggled out of Nile Region. (It was illegal to export a cat from Egypt.)

Vine Line

And you thought chairs were to sit on.I was tagged by D-Man for the book meme. Here are the guidelines:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people and post a comment to maybe Empress of -d (or Mickey or D-Man or...) once you have posted it.

The nearest book is the Minnesota Twins media guide from last season. Josh Rabe is on page 123. I think we will skip that.

Instead I am going over to the chair (which is you can tell is in the process of being organized and will grab the rather large volume that you see there, which is Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

It's a novel. It also makes a good doorstop based on weight alone.

Anyway, here we go...

"Or stray dogs, I wonder? This is not the sort of magic which civilized men wish to see practised in England nowadays!" He glared furiously at Vinculus and, as he did so, something caught his eye.

Fun stuff, right?

I wish to tag Chey, Eric and Flynn, Mosaic Annie, and Tesla, unless they've already done this one. Then forget it you don't have to do it again.


Parker said...

Dear Diamond - I enjoy learning more and more about us!

Mickey said...

Diamond,you always have the neatest info :) Thanks!!
Cool meme too ;)
Purrs Mickey

Dragonheart & Merlin said...

Thanks for sharing that information with us, Diamond!

Tybalt said...

Diamond, you always share the most interesting facts with us! Thank you so much. That book does sound interesting. Purrs!

catsynth said...

Really interesting history of cats.
Thanks for sharing!

Cheysuli and gemini said...

Thank you for the tag. We did this two weeks ago and as my human has such boring taste in books, I do not think I will bore everyone again... the closest books to the computer are always the same old html books..

Daisy said...

We cats were very smart to domesticate ourselves. But deep inside, I think we are still a little bit wild.

jan said...

We're still waiting for our scary cat to domesticate herself.

Misty the alpha Poodle

Kellie The Orange Cat said...

Informative as ever Diamond!

Gandalf & Grayson said...

That was very, very interesting, Diamond. Who said we were domesticated?

PB & J said...

Cool Diamond - we love learning from your posts!

-d ma said...

ah i would have loved to read about josh rabe. i'd forgotten all about him. how quickly we do forget...

Sultanfus and Guy said...

Figures cats would domesticate themselves. They know a good thing when they see it!

The Cat Realm said...

Thank you for the interesting information!!! I always thought we descended right from the Gods. Oh well. As long as we are treated as them!

Zippy, Sadie and Speedy said...

Mom sez we came from heaven...and dad sez so does the devil. hehehee

Sunny's Mommy said...

Any book that can do double duty as a doorstop, is too big for me to read :-p