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Thread: History of Neolithic Cats in Europe

  1. #1
    Advisor Angela's Avatar
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    History of Neolithic Cats in Europe

    See:
    https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2.../09/1918884117

    "Significance

    Most of today’s domesticates began as farm animals, but cat domestication took a different path. Cats became commensal of humans somewhere in the Fertile Crescent, attracted to early farmers’ settlements by rodent pests. Cat remains from Poland dated to 4,200 to 2,300 y BCE are currently the earliest evidence for the migration of the Near Eastern wildcat to Central Europe. Tracking the possible synanthropic origin of that migration, we used stable isotopes to investigate the paleodiet. We found that the ecological balance was already changed due to the expansion of Neolithic farmlands. We conclude that among the Late Neolithic Near Eastern wildcats from Poland were free-living individuals, who preyed on rodent pests and shared ecological niches with native European wildcats.

    Abstract

    Cat remains from Poland dated to 4,200 to 2,300 y BCE are currently the earliest evidence for the migration of the Near Eastern cat (NE cat), the ancestor of domestic cats, into Central Europe. This early immigration preceded the known establishment of housecat populations in the region by around 3,000 y. One hypothesis assumed that NE cats followed the migration of early farmers as synanthropes. In this study, we analyze the stable isotopes in six samples of Late Neolithic NE cat bones and further 34 of the associated fauna, including the European wildcat. We approximate the diet and trophic ecology of Late Neolithic felids in a broad context of contemporary wild and domestic animals and humans. In addition, we compared the ecology of Late Neolithic NE cats with the earliest domestic cats known from the territory of Poland, dating to the Roman Period. Our results reveal that human agricultural activity during the Late Neolithic had already impacted the isotopic signature of rodents in the ecosystem. These synanthropic pests constituted a significant proportion of the NE cat’s diet. Our interpretation is that Late Neolithic NE cats were opportunistic synanthropes, most probably free-living individuals (i.e., not directly relying on a human food supply). We explore niche partitioning between studied NE cats and the contemporary native European wildcats. We find only minor differences between the isotopic ecology of both these taxa. We conclude that, after the appearance of the NE cat, both felid taxa shared the ecological niches."


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  2. #2
    Regular Member shissem@san.rr.com's Avatar
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    My father, a farm boy, talked of the cats that lived around the family farm. They were not treated as pets and certainly never fed, which would have defeated the purpose of them living there. They were not exactly feral, but they also weren't tamed. He could never get used to the idea of cats as pampered pets, or of dogs living indoors.

  3. #3
    Regular Member Carlos's Avatar
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    Cats are incredible beings, I have always liked them but they were not my favorite animal either but later I discovered them from closer and creates a unique and incredible psychic connection with them.

    Despite the fact that my brothers when they were pre-teens went out with dogs to hunt cats, I have seen two dogs pulling a cat to break it in half.

    Other people told me horrible things they did to cats when they were kids and eventually they had cats as pets.

    To a Siamese kitten that we had in a field and that my brother did not feed either and was about to give birth in the neighbor's land and I told him to bring me the young that wanted to see them, because at 10 I had forgotten when I see the cat bringing the cubs to our land, that same cat broke a rat's spine and left it completely paralyzed and took it to its young, the rat was alive but vegetated, I was dying of disgust, I can't stand rats , I get on a lamp.


    Cats are amazing they deserve a monument like donkeys and other animals.

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