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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/17/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

There is new historical evidence that suggests ancient Chinese farmers bred them to halt mice infestations

The common house cat of today is there as an addition to a home - independent by nature, a cat is left to amuse itself save for those chilly winter nights when they jump into your lap for a cuddle. This wasn't always the case, as historians have now discovered that cats were bred by ancient Chinese farmer as far back as 5,000 years ago to fend off mice.

There had been hard scientific evidence that cats were first domesticated in ancient Egypt, where they were kept some 4,000 years ago.

There had been hard scientific evidence that cats were first domesticated in ancient Egypt, where they were kept some 4,000 years ago.

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/17/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Cats, China, mice, domesticated, Egypt


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientists have uncovered evidence of a close relationship between humans and cats in the ancient village of Quanhucin, Shaanxi province. Bones from at least two cats shows they preyed on grain-eating animals, probably rodents.

According to the bone analysis, one of the cats had survived to an old age living in the village, while another had a diet suggesting it had scavenged human food or been fed.

Remains of an ancient rodent burrow from that same time in a grain storage pit, prove that the rodent-proof design of the grain pots indicated that rats and mice posed a serious problem for Quanhucin farmers.

"At least three different lines of scientific inquiry allow us to tell a story about cat domestication," Professor Fiona Marshall from the University of Washington says. "Our data suggest that cats were attracted to ancient farming villages by small animals such as rodents that were living on the grain that the farmers grew, ate and stored.

"Results of this study show that the village of Quanhucin was a source of food for the cats 5300 years ago, and the relationship between humans and cats was commensal, or advantageous for the cats.

"Even if these cats were not yet domesticated, our evidence confirms that they lived in close proximity to farmers, and that the relationship had mutual benefits."

There had been hard scientific evidence that cats were first domesticated in ancient Egypt, where they were kept some 4,000 years ago.

However, more recent findings point to a much earlier association with humans, including the discovery of a wild cat buried with a human nearly 10,000 years ago in Cyprus.



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