[Taxacom] domestication of the house cat

Donat Agosti agosti at amnh.org
Tue Jul 3 04:32:09 CDT 2007

Talking about inbreeding: just five wild cat females at the base of the
domesticated cats, and that not in Egypt.


Here a comment in NYT ,
e07737cb5b7f64&ei=5087%0A> &ex=1183608000&en=50e07737cb5b7f64&ei=5087%0A



Some 10,000 years ago, somewhere in the Near East, an audacious wildcat
crept into one of the crude villages of early human settlers, the first to
domesticate wheat and barley. There she felt safe from her many predators in
the region, such as hyenas and larger cats. 

The rodents that infested the settlers' homes and granaries were sufficient
prey. Seeing that she was earning her keep, the settlers tolerated her, and
their children greeted her kittens with delight. 

At least five females of the wildcat subspecies known as Felis silvestris
lybica accomplished this delicate transition from forest to village. And
from these five matriarchs all the world's 600 million house cats are

A scientific basis for this scenario has been established by Carlos A.
Driscoll of the National Cancer Institute
l_cancer_institute/index.html?inline=nyt-org>  and his colleagues. He spent
more than six years collecting species of wildcat in places as far apart as
Scotland, Israel, Namibia and Mongolia. He then analyzed the DNA of the
wildcats and of many house cats and fancy cats.

And here the original source




Dr. Donat Agosti

Science Consultant

Research Associate, American Museum of Natural History and Naturmuseum der
Burgergemeinde Bern

Email: agosti at amnh.org

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