A recent study has managed to prove that cats have been domesticated twice. The furry and purring house felines seem to be the second animal that man has domesticated twice apart from the pig.
We all know for a fact that cats, with their distinct personalities, have made quite an impression on humans. Apart from their inherited ability to hunt down rodents, they’ve also managed to become the object of adulation. For example, in Ancient Egypt, cats were revered and worshiped like gods and even had their own cult.
Bastet, or Bast, also known the goddess with the cat head, although most of the researchers agree that the second-rate goddess actually possesses the head of a lion, was considered to be the goddess of war. Worshiped all throughout the Second Dynasty, Bast and the cult of Bast transformed cats into deities.
One the subject of cat lineage, it would seem that cats have been domesticated twice. A new study shows that the cat was domesticated in China approximately 5000 years ago. Moreover, it would seem that the modern purring machine has its roots in two distinct species of wildcats (the Eastern wildcat and the Felis silvestris lybica).
The study was conducted by a team of archeologists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and it was published in the Plos One journal. Although the discovery is not entirely new, only recently have the scientists understood that the bones unearthed in Quanchucun village belonged to a feline, which resembles the modern.
According to the archeologists in charge of this project, the bone fragments were discovered approximately 15 years ago. Back then, the researchers couldn’t tell if the earthly remains belonged to the Near Eastern wildcat family or not. Only recently have the scientists learned that the bone fragments belonged to a leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis).
From a chronological point of view, cats were domesticated over 10000 years ago. The scientists believe that the discovery of agriculture also prompted the domestication of wildcats. It is a very sound theory if we take a look at the facts.
After discovering the benefits of agriculture, man also found out that bad weather isn’t the only thing threatening his crops. Rodents, big and small, would come in great numbers in order to feast on the crop. Naturally, where there are rodents, there are cats. Seeing that the cat handles the pesky rodents, man began to care for the cat.
In conclusion, the study points out the fact that the common domestic cat was domesticated two times: the first time, approximately 10.800 years ago in the Middle East and the second time nearly 5000 years ago in China.