China trumps Near East for signs of most ancient farm cats

Earliest evidence found for grain as a force in feline domestication

By Susan Milius, 09:47 AM December 17, 2013

Housecat history has unexpectedly leapt from the Near East into ancient China.

Small cats hunted grain-thieving rodents around the farming village of Quanhucun in central China about 5,300 years ago, reports Yaowu Hu of the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. The Chinese cats may not be the oldest signs of beginning domestication or the source for today’s domesticated cats. But they do give the earliest evidence of grain farming as the possible pathway to domestication, Hu an...

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