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Mystery Unveiled : The Reason Behind Domestication Of Cats

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A group of three Cats. Pixabay

June 30, 2017: A new DNA study published in Ecology and Evolution infers how cats have followed the development of Western civilization. This process was helped by an attempt in the 18th century, creating the lovable tamed short-haired or “tabby” cat.

While the origin of the domesticated cat is still a mystery, it seems that the manner of becoming pets took a long time. It also appears, because cats are independent, territorial and, antisocial, they were not so easy to tame as compared to the co-operative pack of the wolf.

ALSO READ: Evolution and falling levels of human intelligence: Learn from cats!

Cats lived around humans for many centuries before dropping to the lure of the fire and the cushion and coming in from the cold behaviour to become true companions to humans.

The cat found in Cyprus resembles the Neolithic period of around 10,000 BC to 4,000 BC and the agricultural revolution. This was when people were starting to settle down and become farmers instead of carrying on the nomadic hunter-gatherer existence.

An earlier DNA study of other ancient remains tells that domestic cats first emerged in the land at the eastern end of the Mediterranean where some of the first human civilizations emerged.

The authors of the new study examined DNA taken from bones and teeth of ancient cat remains to track the spread of the domestic cat. They also studied samples from the skin and hair of mummified Egyptian cats.

They found that all modern cats have ancestors among the Near Eastern and Egyptian cats, although the contributions of these two groups to the gene pool of today’s cats probably happened at different times. The DNA study suggests domestic cats spread out over a period of around 1,300 years to the 5th century AD, with remains recorded in Bulgaria, Turkey and Jordan.

The DNA study suggests domestic cats spread out over a period of around 1,300 years to the 5th century AD, with remains recorded in Bulgaria, Turkey and Jordan.

Another striking finding is that domestic cats from earlier times, when strolled with humans to new parts of the world mated with local Wildcats and spread their genes through the population. And, in the process, they forever changed the gene of cats in the area.

– by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter: @Nainamishr94

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The Relationship Between Cats and Humans is More Than 10,000 Years Old, Find Out More

From rodent killer, to pets, to god- cats were not always the same. Read on to know about the history of cats and their domestication!

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A detailed survey of cat genes suggest that even after they wandered into human lives, they remained largely unchanged for thousands of years. Pixabay
  • Cats are popularly understood as independent, antisocial and not easy to tame
  • Bones and teeth of ancient cats have often been studied to understand more about their evolution
  • It is popularly believed that travelling cats often mated with local wild cats, spreading genes and creating an altogether new population

JULY 30, 2017 : Cats and humans have always shared a love-hate relationship. Today, a large part of cats’ lives are spent around the owners but researchers believe that that had not always been the case.  A research aimed to understand the history of cat focused on the DNA from ancient cats aimed at tracing the relationship between man and felines.

Researchers surveyed the DNA obtained from more than 200 ancient cats from Europe, Africa, Asia, Egyptian cat mummies from as back as 9,000 years was studied to know more about human’s relationship with the cat.

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It is believed that the domestication of cats may have begun around 10,000 years ago.

French researchers used the DNA from the ancient bones of the African wild cats to track the first domesticated felines back to ancient farms in the Fertile Crescent, an arc of land that included present day Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel. It was in this growing fertile land that cats and humans are believed to have first mingled.

According to Eva-Maria Geigl, from Jacques Monod Institute in Paris, the farmers accumulated grains in large amounts that attracted rodents, which in turn attracted the wild cats, as reported by VOA. With time, the wild cats adapted to this arrangement and learned to live with humans and became relatively tame while the humans embraced their hunting instincts without interfering with their genetic breeding.

Researchers have also found DNA dated back from 9,500 years,  which suggest that cats were also crew members in ancient trading vessels.

According to historians, as civilizations began to prosper, and people began to travel, cats often accompanied them.

ALSO READ: Evolution and falling levels of human intelligence: Learn from cats!

Previously, researchers had found a cat buried alongside a human in Cyprus, an island without any native population of felines.

3500 year old Egyptian paintings of cats sitting beneath chairs from further reveal an important aspect of the history of cats- that they were a part of the early Egyptian households before they became royalty.

As they traveled and reached Egypt, believing in their ability to see in the dark, cats became sacred to the Egyptians for which they were mummified in the burial chambers.

“Ancient Egyptians worshiped cats at large, and the Egyptian cat specifically was appreciated to the level of being worshiped and mummified, just like the pharaoh”, told Mona Khalil from the Egyptian Society of Mercy to Animals to VOA.

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Cat Mummy at Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, San Jose, California. Wikimedia Commons

While it is easier to distinguish dogs from their wolf ancestors, scientists have faced difficulties to track the overall process of domestication of cats as the fossils and DNA obtained cannot clearly distinguish whether a cat was wild or domesticated.

Researchers also believe that dogs were selected to perform specific tasks, which was never the case with cats.

“We are discovering incredible things about where they have come from, how far they have gone, and what kind of impact they have had on humans”, believes research scholar Claudio Ottoni of the University of Leuven.

An increasing number of researches are now being taken up on the history of cats, and their domestication continue to be among the most popular pets in the world today.

– by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala

 


 

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Man from Taiwan Builds Wheelchairs for the Injured and Disabled Dogs

Pan Chieh, a Taiwanese man, uses plastic water pipes and builds wheelchairs for the disabled dogs

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Disabled dogs can walk and run again thanks to Pan Chieh's wheelchair. Wikimedia
  • A pet lover from Taiwan provides disabled dogs with wheelchairs
  • Pan Chieh uses plastic water pipes to make these dogs walk and run again
  • He has been visiting dog owners throughout the country and helping their animals

Taiwan, July 25, 2017: Pan Chieh, a 40-year-old Machine operator in Taiwan uses plastic pipes to build wheelchairs for injured and disabled dogs.

Pan had a personal experience. His friend came across an injured dog and took the dog to the animal hospital. It was learned that the dog could never walk again. But instead of buying a wheelchair at a commercial price, Pan Chieh built the wheelchair himself.

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Since then, Pan has dedicated most of his time building wheelchairs for other dogs in need. A commercial wheelchair for dogs is three times the cost of Pan Chieh’s wheelchair which is less than $30 dollars.

Pan uses plastic water pipes to design his wheelchairs. On weekends, Pan and his girlfriend travel around Taiwan visiting injured/ handicapped dog owners. They charge for the travel costs and the material but also do it for free in case a dog has no sponsors.

Speaking to Business Insider, Pan recalled: “The first dog recovered completely after using the wheelchair, which gave me a lot of confidence.”

ALSO READ: The Reason Why Dog is Man’s Best Friend 

Professor at National Taiwan University’s veterinary clinical science, Liu I-li, applauded the effort of the machine operator. The design is great and cost effective. With adjustments like a neck harness, the wheelchair will be great for dogs who will be able to walk and run again.

Pan’s passion after his experience with the stray dog proved to be great for many other animals. The pet lover makes wheelchairs for cats as well.

– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter @Saksham2393

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103 Migrants die in Mediterranean Shipwreck, Rescue Vessel saves 27 Survivors

A total of 3,654 migrants and asylum-seekers perished in the Mediterranean from January through October - the deadliest year on record

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Rescue workers carry a bag containing the dead body of a migrant that washed ashore in Tripoli's Janzour city, Libya, Nov. 5, 2016. VOA

Rome, Nov 18, 2016: A total of 103 migrants died when their boat sank in the Mediterranean while their rescue vessel had saved 27 survivors from the shipwreck, medical charity Doctors without Borders reported on Thursday.

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A total 3,654 migrants and asylum-seekers perished in the Mediterranean from January through October. Click To Tweet

“The 27 men who are now on the #Argos were aboard a boat carrying 130 passengers. They are the only survivors. An unacceptable tragedy!” the charity said in a tweet.

A report issued on Wednesday said a total 3,654 migrants and asylum-seekers perished in the Mediterranean from January through October – the deadliest year on record.

The report was compiled by the United Nations refugee agency and several Italian charities. (IANS)