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Ako se ne varam, ovde ima prilicno za temu zainteresovanih, a od svega mene zanima sta je tacno ona zelena tacka na Balkanu, u Srbiji?

Current and historic distribution of Felis silvestris, the ancestor of the domestic cat

DNA shows domestic cat had origins in Near East

Cats were domesticated in the Near East from local wildcats, according to a new kitty family tree based on DNA evidence from nearly 1000 animals.

The finding supports the idea that cats were tamed throughout the "Fertile Crescent" as humans settled down and became agriculturalists. Grain stores would have attracted rodent pests, which in turn may have lured wildcats into a closer relationship with people, which eventually led to the modern house cat.

"A lot of domestication models involve a single domestication event and then dispersion. But what we now see in cats, is multiple events where people tinkered with breeding or where a domestic partnership arose," says Melinda Zeder, director of archaeobiology at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC, US.

Piecing together the history of the domestic cat has been tricky because the skeletons of wildcats and house cats are virtually indistinguishable. All that separates them are coat colour variations, a slightly smaller size and, of course, a more friendly demeanour.

Cats were neither hunting nor herding helpers, like dogs, or food sources, like cattle, meaning that archaeological records of cat and human relationships are less abundant.

Carlos Driscoll at the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Maryland, US, and colleagues sampled DNA from 979 domestic cats and wildcats from across Europe and Asia. By analysing the variations in DNA sequence at different "marker" spots in the genomes, they were able to tell which felines were the most closely related.

The team found that wildcats and domestic cats separate out into five groups, or clades, of the wildcat Felis silvestris, which correspond to different subspecies: the European wildcat, the Southern African wildcat, the Central Asian wildcat, Chinese desert cat and Near Eastern wildcat.

All of the domestic cats – from the fancy breeds to feral tabbies – fell within the Near Eastern wildcat group.

Furthermore, lap cats descended from five distinct mitochondrial DNA lineages. "These new molecular data support previous genetic and archaeological findings, which suggested that domestic cats originated from the domestication of North African or Near Eastern wildcat populations," says wildlife geneticist Ettore Randi at Italy's National Institute for Wild Animals (INSF).

Driscoll's tree also suggests that the Near Eastern clade, domestic cats included, split from the other wildcats around 131,000 years ago.

The earliest firm evidence of such cats comes from Egyptian art dating to the 20th century BC. But in 2004, French archaeologists uncovered a 9500 year-old burial site in what had been newly agricultural Cyprus containing both human and cat remains. This sparked the question of whether cats and humans began to co-habitat much earlier.

Journal Reference: Science (DOI: 10.1126/science.1139518)

    *   19:00 28 June 2007
    * news service
    * Anna Gosline

Moje mace su vanzemaljci  :lol:


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