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New DNA Analysis Shows How Cats Spread Around the World

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posted on Sep, 27 2016 @ 05:23 PM

An article found on the Smithsonian website details recent studies scientists have conducted on feline DNA that traces their spread in two different waves throughout the world including, "moving around Europe on Viking ships". It was humorous to me to imagine rugged Vikings keeping fluffy kittens!

Cats seem like they could care less about their adoring owners, flicking their tails as they walk away. But cats and their people go way back. Researchers recently traced their spread around the world to their relations with farmers and travels with merchants and Vikings, Ewen Callaway reports for Nature. Though the first full dog genome was sequenced in 2005, it took another two years for a cat’s genome to be sequenced. And it wasn’t until 2014 when a high-quality map of this cat’s genes, an Abyssinian named Cinnamon, was finally published. But in the last couple years, a sharp drop in the cost of DNA analysis is allowing cat-loving researchers to catch up. Recently, an evolutionary geneticist Eva-Maria Geigl, from the Institut Jacques Monod in Paris, presented the first comprehensive study of the spread of felines through history at a conference in Oxford. Geigl and her colleagues analyzed the mitochondrial DNA of 209 domestic cats found at 30 archeological sites in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The cats span human history, from the dawn of agriculture through the 18th century.

So, what's up with that? Scientists would rather spend money researching canine DNA than feline DNA? Well, I am gratified that the first non-human mammal to have a complete gene sequencing performed was mus musculus, or mouse... can you tell I like rodents?

The article continues:

What the researchers found is that cats spread in two waves. The first explosion happened when agriculture first appeared in the eastern Mediterranean and Turkey, where the wild ancestors of domestic cats live. Geigl suggests that when people began storing grain, they likely attracted rodents. These rodents, in turn, likely attracted the wild cats. Early farmers may have seen the advantages of having cats control the rodent populations and encouraged them to stick around, eventually leading to domestic breeds. The second wave of cat-spansion happened several thousand years later, explains Callaway. Geigl’s team discovered that cats with a mitochondrial lineage from Egypt began appearing in Bulgaria, Turkey and sub-Saharan Africa between the fourth century B.C. and the fourth century A.D. The team believes sailors may have begun keeping cats on ships around this time to control rodents, spreading them to port cities during trading missions. In fact, a cat with the Egyptian mitochondrial DNA was found in a Viking site in North Germany dating between 700 and 1000 A.D.

Makes sense, risking crazy-cat lady syndrome is far more tolerable than having rats/mice stealing from your grain storage! One of the most fascinating results was the discovery that the human/feline relationship extends much further back in time than was previously believe:

For decades, researchers believed cats were domesticated in Egypt around 4,000 years ago, writes Stephanie Pappas at LiveScience. But a 9,500-year-old human burial in Cyprus that included cat bones found in 2004 upended that idea, and another study from 2014 indicates that domestic cats were bred in upper Egypt 6,000 years ago. These discoveries, along with Geigl's chronology, show that the history of humans and cats is much longer and more complicated than previously believed.

This was an interesting read and I hope that some of you will take the time to consume the COMPLETE SOURCE ARTICLE

edit on 9272016 by seattlerat because: mai spilling sugs

edit on 9272016 by seattlerat because: removed unwanted spaces

edit on 9272016 by seattlerat because: added some more info

edit on 9272016 by seattlerat because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 27 2016 @ 05:30 PM
Makes total sense in a lot of respects. None more so than by allowing the cats to go crazy in an area you would like to populate. Clear the rodents, clear the scrubland, build your village, go kill a Saxon.

posted on Sep, 27 2016 @ 05:33 PM
a reply to: seattlerat


But you get the S&F for the excellent use of pics... lol

posted on Sep, 27 2016 @ 05:40 PM
Even vikings need a little break from badassery to gush over cuteness. I now understand how they got up in the morning. To the loving claws kneading mercilessly into their flesh, and the rough face scouring lick of a feline demanding food or death by a thousand pricks and sandpapery defacing.
edit on 9/27/2016 by Puppylove because: grammar and spelling

posted on Sep, 27 2016 @ 05:54 PM
And if you continue tracing their DNA as far back as possible, you will find they are directly related to Satan.

What evil little critters cats are.

posted on Sep, 27 2016 @ 06:15 PM
The Valhalla Kittehs Approve!

I really wish this was on YouTube so I could embed.

posted on Sep, 27 2016 @ 11:41 PM

originally posted by: ketsuko
The Valhalla Kittehs Approve!

I really wish this was on YouTube so I could embed.

You beat me to it!

posted on Sep, 28 2016 @ 12:11 AM
Ridiculous. Can't even get halfway through the first sentence without a grammatical error.

Cats seem like they could care less about their adoring owners,

It's 'couldn't care less'.

Who's this idiot who writes for the Smithsonian? Our educational system is going down the toilet.

posted on Sep, 28 2016 @ 11:03 AM
viking kittens.....

You have my attention.

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