Feline genetics help pinpoint first-ever domestication of cats


Feline genetics research has indeed played a significant role in helping to pinpoint the first-ever domestication of cats. By analyzing the DNA of modern domestic cats and comparing it to that of their wild ancestors, scientists have been able to gain insights into the origins and domestication process of cats.

One key study published in 2017 analyzed the genomes of ancient cats from archaeological sites across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The researchers found that the genetic divergence between wildcats and domestic cats likely occurred around 9,000 years ago in the Near East region, specifically in what is now modern-day Turkey and Iraq. This suggests that this region was a primary center for cat domestication.

Further genetic studies have provided additional evidence supporting this domestication event and have helped trace the spread of domesticated cats across different regions. For example, genetic analysis of cat remains from ancient Egyptian sites revealed that Egyptian cats were closely related to the Near Eastern cats, indicating a likely migration of domesticated cats from the Near East to Egypt.

By combining genetic data with archaeological and historical evidence, researchers have been able to piece together a more comprehensive understanding of the domestication process and the role cats played in human societies throughout history.

It's important to note that scientific research in this field is ongoing, and new discoveries and insights continue to emerge as more genetic studies are conducted.