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Chinese farmers may have helped domesticate cats over 5,000 years ago


Though the modern human–cat relationship is well documented on YouTube, researchers are still puzzling over how our initial domestication of cats developed. But now a new discovery in China is helping to shed some light on it: in a paper published today, researchers describe finding multiple cats bones dating back 5,300 years ago — one of the earliest signs of cat domestication to date. Our data suggest that cats were attracted to ancient farming villages by small animals, such as rodents that were living on the grain that the farmers grew, ate and stored, Fiona Marshall, a co-author of the study from Washington University in St. Louis, says in a statement. The research, led from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is being published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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