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Your spoiled kitty is descended from hard-working barn cats

Submitted by The Verge on June 19, 2017 - 11:00am

Sure, the internet is for cats, but who do we have to thank for bringing us these companions?

One answer comes from a paper published today in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. Researchers analyzed DNA extracted from the teeth and bones of over 200 cats. These remains span 9,000 years, and trace back to places from Viking graves to modern Angola. They found that cats spread in two waves — one from the Near East, and one from Egypt — traveling on ships to arrive in new places.

Before Grumpy Cat and Maru, there were farmers in the Near East (areas like Iran and Turkey) who stored grain. Grain attracts rats, and rats attracted — well, not cats, exactly, but their wildcat ancestor, Felis silvestris lybica. These farmers, noticing...

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