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Jean M
09-21-2016, 04:30 PM
A large-scale study of ancient feline DNA charts the domestication and global spread of house cats
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-cats-conquered-the-world-and-a-few-viking-ships/


Thousands of years before cats came to dominate Internet culture, they swept through ancient Eurasia and Africa carried by early farmers, ancient mariners and even Vikings, finds the first large-scale look at ancient-cat DNA. The study, presented at a conference on September 15, sequenced DNA from more than 200 cats that lived between about 15,000 years ago and the eighteenth century A.D.

Researchers know little about cat domestication, and there is active debate over whether the house cat (Felis silvestris) is truly a domestic animal—that is, its behaviour and anatomy are clearly distinct from those of wild relatives. “We don’t know the history of ancient cats. We do not know their origin, we don't know how their dispersal occurred,” says Eva-Maria Geigl, an evolutionary geneticist at the Institut Jacques Monod in Paris. She presented the study at the 7th International Symposium on Biomolecular Archaeology in Oxford, UK, along with colleagues Claudio Ottoni and Thierry Grange.

A 9,500-year-old human burial from Cyprus also contained the remains of a cat. This suggests that the affiliation between people and felines dates at least as far back as the dawn of agriculture, which occurred in the nearby Fertile Crescent beginning around 12,000 years ago. Ancient Egyptians may have tamed wild cats some 6,000 years ago, and under later Egyptian dynasties, cats were mummified by the million. One of the few previous studies of ancient-cat genetics involved mitochondrial DNA (which, contrary to most nuclear DNA, is inherited through the maternal line only) for just three mummified Egyptian cats.

Geigl’s team built on those insights, but expanded the approach to a much larger scale. The researchers analysed mitochondrial DNA from the remains of 209 cats from more than 30 archaeological sites across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The samples dated from the Mesolithic—the period just before the advent of agriculture, when humans lived as hunter–gatherers—up to the eighteenth century.

Cat populations seem to have grown in two waves, the authors found. Middle Eastern wild cats with a particular mitochondrial lineage expanded with early farming communities to the eastern Mediterranean. Geigl suggests that grain stockpiles associated with these early farming communities attracted rodents, which in turn drew wild cats. After seeing the benefit of having cats around, humans might have begun to tame these cats.....

Saetro
09-22-2016, 12:07 AM
At a conference last year, they presented some preliminary information
https://lirias.kuleuven.be/handle/123456789/522935
Abstract
Notwithstanding its popularity, the origin of the domestic cat remains still elusive. In contrast to livestock species, cats are solitary hunters defending fiercely their home range; they miss a hierarchical structure and are obligate carnivores, all features which make them unlikely candidates for domestication. Until recently the general belief was that the initial domestication of cats took place in ancient Egypt at least by 1,700 BC, during the Egyptian New Kingdom, mainly based on evidence from figurative art. In the 1st millennium BC the cat was associated with a local deity and its popularity reached its peak during the Ptolemaic period (332-30 BC). Recent zooarchaeological evidence suggests possible attempts of cat taming in Egypt even earlier, probably in the Predynastic period (ca. 3,700 BC). However, a complete cat skeleton found in association with a human burial dated to ~7,500 BC in Cyprus suggests that early taming of cats has arisen in the early Neolithic agricultural societies of the Near and Middle East, as a form of control of rodent populations attracted by cereal deposits.

A phylogenetic study of mtDNA and autosomal markers in modern wild and domestic cats showed that only one of the five Felis silvestris subspecies in the Old World contributed to the genetic pool of modern domestic cats, the Near Eastern/African distributed F. s. libyca.
The main goal of the present study was to investigate mtDNA variation in ancient cats from Europe, Africa and the Near and Middle East, chronologically spanning from the Paleolithic to the 18th century AD. Results gathered in total from 197 ancient cats represents to date the first dataset of ancient Felis silvestris sequences, and provide clues about past distributions of this species and the trajectories of human-mediated translocations related to migrations and trades in prehistoric and historic times.

rozenfeld
10-10-2016, 05:55 PM
Preprint is posted on Biorxiv:

http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2016/10/09/080028

Of cats and men: the paleogenetic history of the dispersal of cats in the ancient world
Claudio Ottoni, Wim van Neer, Bea De Cupere, Julien Daligault, Silvia Guimaraes, Joris Peters, Nikolai Spassov, Mary E. Pendergast, Nicole Boivin, Arturo Morales-Muniz, Adrian Balasescu, Cornelia Becker, Norbert Benecke, Adina Boronenant, Hijlke Buitenhuis, Jwana Chahoud, Alison Crowther, Laura Llorente, Nina Manaseryan, Herve Monchot, Vedat Onar, Marta Osypinska, Olivier Putelat, Jacqueline Studer, Ursula Wierer, Ronny Decorte, Thierry Grange, Eva-Maria Geigl
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/080028
This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed [what does this mean?].

AbstractInfo/HistoryMetrics
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Abstract

The origin and dispersal of the domestic cat remain elusive despite its importance to human societies around the world. Archaeological evidence for domestication centers in the Near East and in Egypt is contested, and genetic data on modern cats show that Felis silvestris lybica, the subspecies of wild cat inhabiting at present the Near East and Northern Africa, is the only ancestor of the domestic cat. Here we provide the first broad geographic and chronological dataset of ancient cat mtDNA sequences, drawing on archaeological specimens from across western Eurasia and northern and eastern Africa, dating from throughout the Holocene and spanning ~9,000 years. We characterized the ancient phylogeography of F. s. lybica, showing that it expanded up to southeastern Europe prior to the Neolithic, and reconstructed the subsequent movements that profoundly transformed its distribution and shaped its early cultural history. We found that maternal lineages from both the Near East and Egypt contributed to the gene pool of the domestic cat at different historical times, with the Near Eastern population providing the first major contribution during the Neolithic and the Egyptian cat spreading efficiently across the Old World during the Classical period. This expansion pattern and range suggest dispersal along maritime and terrestrial routes of trade and connectivity. Late trait selection is suggested by the first occurrence in our dataset of the major allele for blotched-tabby body marking not earlier than during the Late Middle Ages.

Saetro
10-10-2016, 07:12 PM
Preprint is posted on Biorxiv:

http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2016/10/09/080028

Of cats and men: the paleogenetic history of the dispersal of cats in the ancient world
Claudio Ottoni, Wim van Neer, Bea De Cupere, Julien Daligault, Silvia Guimaraes, Joris Peters, Nikolai Spassov, Mary E. Pendergast, Nicole Boivin, Arturo Morales-Muniz, Adrian Balasescu, Cornelia Becker, Norbert Benecke, Adina Boronenant, Hijlke Buitenhuis, Jwana Chahoud, Alison Crowther, Laura Llorente, Nina Manaseryan, Herve Monchot, Vedat Onar, Marta Osypinska, Olivier Putelat, Jacqueline Studer, Ursula Wierer, Ronny Decorte, Thierry Grange, Eva-Maria Geigl
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/080028
This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed [what does this mean?].

Articles in serious journals go out to others in the field ("peers") to check that the research done in the article is sound, and that the conclusions are logical. This article is at a stage when there has been no opportunity for those reviewers (if sought) to respond yet.

Pre-print copies are prior to formal publication. Often the publication issue date and page numbers are not available.
Referring to the article later, so that people can look it up and read it for themselves, usually requires this extra information.
Re-print copies have that full information.

GoldenHind
10-11-2016, 12:01 AM
There are times I wonder if "domestic" cats are actually alien beings who came to earth for the purpose of amusing themselves by toying with human beings and chasing small helpless mammals, while having humans slavishly serve their every need.

C J Wyatt III
10-11-2016, 01:14 AM
I was hoping for some pictures on this thread.

Bulletproofpride
10-11-2016, 02:27 AM
where is the exact location whee the cat was first found and domesticated?

MikeWhalen
10-11-2016, 03:17 AM
gotcha chum

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Mike

Jean M
10-11-2016, 07:12 PM
where is the exact location where the cat was first found and domesticated?

We can't pinpoint it exactly, but cats seem to have been drawn to the mice and rats which were themselves attracted to the stores of grain created by Neolithic farmers. What Ottoni and colleagues have discovered is that all domestic cats today descend from the wild ancestor Felis silvestris lybica, native to north Africa and the Near East, shown in yellow on the map below:

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Here's an extract from the paper:


Origin and dispersal of domestic cats. Our data show that mitotype IV-A* had a wide distribution stretching across Anatolia from west to east throughout the Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age. Its range may have extended as far south as the Levant, where we inferred the presence of subclade IV-B. These findings suggest that in the Fertile Crescent, cats developing a commensal relationship with early farming communities during the early Neolithic carried at least the mitotypes IV-A* and IV-B. Mitotype IV-A* later spread to most of the Old World, representing the Near Eastern contribution to the mtDNA pool of present-day domestic cats. This spread may have started as early as ca. 4,400 BCE into Southeast Europe, the date of IV-A*ís first appearance in our European dataset, and thus subsequent to the neolithisation of Europe. This suggests that the human-mediated translocation of cats started already in prehistoric times, corroborating the interpretation of the finding of a cat buried ca. 7,500 BCE in Cyprus (11). We also found IV-A* in cat remains from the Roman-Egyptian port of Berenike on the Red Sea (Fig. 1a-c), which may hint at an introduction of cats from SWA or from the eastern Mediterranean to Egypt.

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Jean M
06-20-2017, 04:37 PM
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-017-0139

Claudio Ottoni et al., The palaeogenetics of cat dispersal in the ancient world, Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1, Article number: 0139 (2017).


The cat has long been important to human societies as a pest-control agent, object of symbolic value and companion animal, but little is known about its domestication process and early anthropogenic dispersal. Here we show, using ancient DNA analysis of geographically and temporally widespread archaeological cat remains, that both the Near Eastern and Egyptian populations of Felis silvestris lybica contributed to the gene pool of the domestic cat at different historical times. While the catís worldwide conquest began during the Neolithic period in the Near East, its dispersal gained momentum during the Classical period, when the Egyptian cat successfully spread throughout the Old World. The expansion patterns and ranges suggest dispersal along human maritime and terrestrial routes of trade and connectivity. A coat-colour variant was found at high frequency only after the Middle Ages, suggesting that directed breeding of cats occurred later than with most other domesticated animals.

The domestic cat is present on all continents except Antarctica, and in the most remote regions of the world, and its evolutionary success is unquestioned. While it is nowadays one of the most cherished companion animals in the Western world, for ancient societies barn cats, village cats and shipsí cats provided critical protection against vermin, especially rodent pests responsible for economic loss and disease. Owing to a paucity of cat remains in the archaeological record, current hypotheses about early cat domestication rely on only a few zooarchaeological case studies. These studies suggest that ancient societies in both the Near East and Egypt could have played key roles in cat domestication.

Wildcats (Felis silvestris) are distributed all over the Old World. Current taxonomy distinguishes five wild, geographically partitioned subspecies: Felis silvestris silvestris, Felis silvestris lybica, Felis silvestris ornata, Felis silvestris cafra and Felis silvestris bieti. Modern genetic data analyses of nuclear short tandem repeats (STR) and 16% of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genome in extant wild and domestic cats revealed that only one of them, the north African/southwest Asian F. s. lybica, was ultimately domesticated.

Wildcats are solitary, territorial hunters and lack a hierarchical social structure, features that make them poor candidates for domestication. Indeed, zooarchaeological evidence points to a commensal relationship between cats and humans lasting thousands of years before humans exerted substantial influence on their breeding. Throughout this period of commensal interaction, tamed and domestic cats became feral and/or intermixed with wild F. s. lybica or other wild subspecies as is common today. These regular genetic exchanges may have contributed to the low level of differentiation observed between modern wild and domestic cat genome sequences. Accordingly, the domestication process seemingly has not profoundly altered the morphological, physiological, behavioural and ecological features of cats, in contrast to what has been observed, for example, for dogs .

To address questions related to the contribution of the two purported centres of cat domestication, the Near East and Egypt, and the history of human-mediated cat dispersal, we analysed ancient and modern cats from Europe, north and east Africa, and southwest Asia (SWA), spanning around 9,000 years, from the Mesolithic period to the twentieth century AD. We analysed ancient DNA (aDNA) to explore whether a fine phylogeographic structure of maternal lineages existed prior to the domestication of F. s. lybica and whether, when and how it was reconfigured over time in response to human intervention, thereby documenting the domestication process of the cat. We also studied a genetically defined coat-colour marker, the blotched tabby marking, to monitor a phenotypic change reflecting human-driven selection along the domestication pathway.


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Terminus88
11-25-2017, 10:34 PM
gotcha chum

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Mike

Gold members can post things like this, amazing.

Stranger
08-13-2018, 11:31 PM
My favorite animal family.