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7,000-year-old wildcat bones found in Polish cave alongside human remains

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When migrants reached Poland about 6,000 years ago and started converting forests into open pastures and agricultural fields, the rodents and the wildcats—an ancestor of our domestic cat—settled right in. That’s the conclusion of a new study, which found the first known skeletal remains of Near Eastern wildcats in four Polish caves near early farming settlements.

“It was so unexpected,” says study leader Magdalena Krajcarz, an archaeozoologist at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland. One notable discovery was a cat’s humerus—a long leg bone—embedded in a layer of sediments with ceramic vessels.

It’s uncertain if the cat actually had a relationship with a person, Krajcarz says—Neolithic peoples occasionally visited caves, and a predator probably carried the bone into one. But the feline’s presence suggests it was comfortable living alongside, if not exactly with, humans—an important step on the road to becoming fully domesticated, says Krajcarz. 

All modern domestic cats are descendants of the Near Eastern wildcat, which was first domesticated in the Near East about 10,000 years ago. Now, the discovery of the Near Eastern wildcat in Europe could add new wrinkles to the story, according to the paper, published July 13 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The oldest known domestic cat burial (a grave 9,500 years old) was found in 2004 on the island of Cyprus, about 43 miles south of mainland Turkey. Alongside the eight-month-old cat were decorative artifacts, including seashells and polished stones, and the remains of a 30-year-old person - perhaps, the cat’s owner. 

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Source: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/07/house-cat-ancestors-found-poland-caves-near-east/

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dynamite

Maleficent's revenge :neyde:

Love it when you give me shade in the morning call me neyde
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