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Cat bones shake up pet theories

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A cat-and-mouse game played out in a Chinese village 5,300 years ago is helping scientists understand how wild felines became the tame pets we know today.

Scientists believe it was the cat's appetite that led to domestication. Grain stored by ancient farmers was a magnet for rodents, which in turn attracted wild cats. Over time, the cats adapted to village life and became tame around their human hosts.

This is, at least, the leading theory, derived from archaeological evidence in the Middle East, rather than China. But bones recently discovered in a Chinese village add weight to the idea that felines took on pest-control duties in ancient times, says researcher Fiona Marshall of Washington University in St. Louis.

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I think it's more a fact than a theory. Animal comes more in touch with human -> animal gets better along with human (aka. domesticated). We learn to bond with animals without anyone teaching it to us.

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It's questionable whether cats were ever really tamed...

They allowed us to move in with them because they wanted to... no other reason...

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In that particular find, the cat bones were in the trash pile, not buried. I wouldn't be surprised if they were eaten.

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In that particular find, the cat bones were in the trash pile, not buried. I wouldn't be surprised if they were eaten.

shocking as this might come to you: even in our modern world there are places where deceased pets are not buried but disposed off in the trash can.

There are always signs on bones if the meat was eaten and every 2nd grade paleontology student is trained to spot that.

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I don't think cats were ever tamed. We simply became tolerant, and then fond of one another(in most cultures). It almost seems like a human genetic disposition to find useful tools out of anything and then get attached to it. We certainly made use out of wolves and have shaped them into many different useful tools and eventual companions.

I have an object or two I care more about than some pets I've had in my life.

Edited by Wickian

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Dogs have masters; cats have servants! But seriously with all the animal species that exist it's sad that relatively few have become our "friends" on their own terms. It starts with familiarity with humans no doubt. Take the common crow, I read somewhere that they are almost always found in association with humans; you don't typically find them far removed from civilization. And while they are destructive to our crops, crows are extremely intelligent and a few have befriended humans on their own terms. Perhaps if we coexisted better with them and they did not compete with us for our grains, they might be the next wild "pet" we domesticated.

Unless the cat gets them first.....

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