New Analysis on Origins of Wild Cats in Central Europe

A examine printed by Cambridge College Press reveals new details about the traditional migration and domestication of cats in Europe. Following the arrival of their wild ancestors in Europe from the Close to East (the trendy Center East and Western Asia) these cats migrated many millennia in the past. Finally, the researchers uncovered proof that Close to Jap wildcats could have arrived in Central Europe a number of thousand years sooner than beforehand thought.

Cats Have Been in Central Europe for a Very Lengthy Time

Researchers have appeared on the outcomes of genetic research and radiocarbon courting checks of the stays of each wild and home cats, overlaying an period ranging again roughly 10,000 years, to the Late Pleistocene interval, and transferring ahead to the late Center Ages.

Analysis Findings

The purpose of the analysis venture was to uncover as many particulars as potential concerning the technique of the domestication of cats in central Europe. What the researchers discovered, nonetheless, pushed the beforehand established timelines again greater than a thousand years! This discovery signifies that wildcats have been migrating westward and northward at a surprisingly early date. See the map of the migration patterns:

ancient cat migration patterns

Simplified routes for the early growth of Felis silvestris lybica throughout Europe (based mostly on our direct courting of the earliest Felis bones from Poland and Serbia together with knowledge from Vigne et al.2004; Driscoll et al.2007; Faure & Kitchener 2009; Krajcarz et al.2016, 2020; Ottoni et al.2017; Baca et al.2018). Age ranges are radiocarbon ages in years BC/AD produced utilizing OxCal v.4.4 (at 95.4% chance), calibrated utilizing the IntCal20 calibration curve (Bronk Ramsey 2009; Reimer et al.2020) (determine by M.T. Krajcarz, utilizing supply knowledge from The IUCN Purple Listing of Threatened Species

Unanswered Questions on Cats and the Earliest Neolithic Farmers

If wildcats have been roaming Central Europe whereas the primary farming communities have been being shaped, did wildcats and people have a symbiotic relationship? If that’s the case, did this result in the semi-domestication of wildcats? Simply precisely how far Early Neolithic cats could have penetrated into European territory is unknown. Uncertainty stays about interbreeding of cats between Close to Jap and European wildcats. To trace ancestry, historical cat mandibles (jaw bones) have been collected and analyzed.

ancient cat mandibles

Chosen mandibles of Close to Jap wildcats/home cats (a–f) and European wildcats (g–i) (species attribution based mostly on mtDNA): a) Poland, Miechów web site 3 (Neolithic); b–c) Poland, Łojewo web site 4 and Sławsko Wielkie web site 16 (Roman interval); d–e) Serbia, Caričin Grad web site (Early Byzantine interval); f) Poland, Miechów web site 3 (Center Ages); g) Poland, Perspektywiczna Cave (Neolithic); h) Poland, shelter in Smoleń III (pre-Roman interval); i) Poland, Perspektywiczna Cave (Center Ages) (images by M. Krajcarz).

Cats Have Been Shrinking

The primary domesticated cats have been about the identical dimension as European wildcats, however by Roman instances, when cats had turn into a preferred family pet, domesticated felines have been noticeably smaller. Over the subsequent few hundred years, they continued to lower in dimension, till they have been truly smaller than fashionable cats throughout the medieval interval.

Learn The historical past of the home cat in Central Europe and when you appreciated this story, you might also like Tiny Cats, Large Perspective: 9 Small Wild Cats and The Fierce Lives They Lead or prepared about A Temporary Historical past of Home Cats


Research credit: Krajcarz, M., Krajcarz, M., Baca, M., Golubiński, M., Bielichová, Z., Bulatović, J., . . . Popović, D. (2022). The historical past of the home cat in Central Europe. Antiquity, 1-6. doi:10.15184/aqy.2022.128

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