June 6, 2014

The cat: a very brief history

"The earliest evidence of wildcat domestication comes from a 9,500 year old Neolithic grave excavated in Shillourokambos, Cyprus, that contained the skeletons, laid close to one another, of both a human and a cat. This discovery, combined with genetic studies, suggest that cats were probably domesticated in the Middle East, in the Fertile Crescent around the time of the development of agriculture and then they were brought to Cyprus and Egypt. [...] The wildcat's direct ancestor was Felis lunensis, or Martelli's wildcat, which lived in Europe as early as the late Pliocene. [...] The European wildcat first appeared in its current form 2 million years ago, and reached the British Isles from mainland Europe 9,000 years ago, at the end of the last glacial maximum." (cf. Wiki - Wildcat; image source: Wikispecies, Felis silvestris lybica, African Wild Cat)