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Dig discovery is oldest 'pet cat'
BBC ^ | Thursday, 8 April, 2004, 18:00 GMT 19:00 UK | By Paul Rincon

Posted on 04/09/2004 5:34:44 AM PDT by vannrox

The oldest known evidence of people keeping cats as pets may have been discovered by archaeologists.

The discovery of a cat buried with what could be its owner in a Neolithic grave on Cyprus suggests domestication of cats had begun 9,500 years ago.

It was thought the Egyptians were first to domesticate cats, with the earliest evidence dating to 2,000-1,900 BC.



French researchers writing in Science magazine show that the process actually began much earlier than that.

The evidence comes from the Neolithic, or late stone age, village of Shillourokambos on Cyprus, which was inhabited from the 9th to the 8th millennia BC.

Cat culture

"The cat we found in the grave may have been pre-domesticated - something in between savage and domestic. Alternatively, it's possible it was really domestic," Professor Jean Guilaine of the CNRS Centre d'Anthropologie in Toulouse, France told BBC News Online.



The cat (centre bottom) was killed to be buried together with its "master"

"We have this situation of the person and the cat. This same situation of men and dogs are known much earlier from the Natufian culture of Israel which dates to 12-11,000 BC."

The complete cat skeleton was found about 40 cm from a human burial. The similar states of preservation and positions of the burials in the ground suggest the person and the cat were buried together.

The person, who is about 30 years of age, but of unknown sex, was buried with offerings such as polished stone, axes, flint tools and ochre pigment.

Based on this the researchers argue that the person was of high status and may have had a special relationship with cats. Cats might have had religious as well as material significance to the stone age Cypriots, the French archaeologists add.

'Religious animal'

"It's difficult to say the cat was a religious animal but it probably played a role in the symbolic and imaginative world of these people," Prof Guilaine explained.

During the Neolithic, when agriculture was beginning to spread from the Near East, grain storage would have attracted large mice populations. So cats may have been encouraged to settle in villages to control the mice.

Shillourokambos was a thriving village in the late stone age

"If this hypothesis is true, cats could have been attracted into the villages as early as there were mice. These mice in the Near East were present as early as 12,000 years ago," co-author Dr Jean-Denis Vigne of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.

It seems the eight-month-old cat in the Cypriot burial was killed in order to be buried with the person. The skeleton shows no signs of butchering, suggesting that it was treated as an individual in death.

But burnt cat bones from a similar period at the site, attest to the fact that humans did eat the animals on certain occasions.

The cat specimen is large and best resembles the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica), rather than present-day domestic cats.

There are no native feline species on Cyprus, so the authors presume any cats must have been introduced by humans.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ancient; animal; bones; cat; catfood; dig; discovery; dog; explore; feline; found; godsgravesglyphs; history; mankind; mice; natufian; old; past; pet; rats; wonder
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Cat lover bump
1 posted on 04/09/2004 5:34:45 AM PDT by vannrox
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To: vannrox
I hope they reburied it.
2 posted on 04/09/2004 5:36:31 AM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (I have joined the "More Than a Dollar Per Day Donor Club.")
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3 posted on 04/09/2004 5:36:52 AM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: vannrox
"It's difficult to say the cat was a religious animal but it probably played a role in the symbolic and imaginative world of these people," Prof Guilaine explained.

Well it's always difficult to know a cat's psyche but the proximity of human bones to the cat's suggests that the cat wished to have his human near him in some sort of after life. But it certainly was a long process introducing humans to the concept of agriculture and food storage in order to have mice. So its difficult to determine if there was some sort of "food god" ideation on the cats' part. Interesting.

4 posted on 04/09/2004 6:32:00 AM PDT by Kay Syrah (nice finish)
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To: vannrox; abner
...21st Century Cats...Here kitty, kitty


5 posted on 04/09/2004 6:37:21 AM PDT by NautiNurse (Missing Iraqi botulinum toxin? Look at John Kerry's face)
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To: vannrox
The discovery of a cat buried with what could be its owner in a Neolithic grave on Cyprus suggests domestication of cats had begun 9,500 years ago.

Yeah, and the domestication process is still ongoing.

6 posted on 04/09/2004 6:42:10 AM PDT by Modernman (Work is the curse of the drinking classes. -Oscar Wilde)
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To: Modernman
Yeah, and the domestication process is still ongoing

Yep, those cats will have us eating out of their paws before long.

7 posted on 04/09/2004 7:14:11 AM PDT by NautiNurse (Missing Iraqi botulinum toxin? Look at John Kerry's face)
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To: NautiNurse
They've come a long way baby!
8 posted on 04/09/2004 7:21:08 AM PDT by abner (FREE THE MIRANDA MEMOS! http://www.intelmemo.com or http://www.wintersoldier.com)
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To: vannrox
Some FReeper on another thread once mused that if his dog suddenly became 800 pounds that he'd still be his dog's best friend. If his cat became 800 pounds, he'd be lunch. I do love my cats, tho.

Lando

9 posted on 04/09/2004 7:25:20 AM PDT by Lando Lincoln (GWB in 2004)
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To: vannrox
Poor cat didn't get all his nine lives.
10 posted on 04/09/2004 7:35:19 AM PDT by mtbopfuyn
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To: vannrox
Good grief, enough with every find being of religious significance. Odds are the guy liked his cat and instead of letting the cat live out it's life the family killed it and buried it with gramps.
11 posted on 04/09/2004 7:40:07 AM PDT by mtbopfuyn
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To: Kay Syrah
Perfect.
12 posted on 04/09/2004 7:46:14 AM PDT by Inyo-Mono (Proud member of P.O.O.P., People Offended by Offended People.)
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To: mtbopfuyn; Conspiracy Guy
>I hope they reburied it
>Poor cat didn't get all his nine lives


CopyCat, the First Cloned Pet Animal
Texas A&M University
College of Vet Medicine
Heck, they can clone cats!
Let's give this one one more life
and see how it looked . . .

13 posted on 04/09/2004 7:51:55 AM PDT by theFIRMbss
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To: Modernman
Yeah, and the domestication process is still ongoing.

Kinda brings into question the evolution theory. You would think that in all these thousands of years cats would have a little better opinion of us. (G)

14 posted on 04/09/2004 8:10:10 AM PDT by Vinnie
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To: Vinnie
Kinda brings into question the evolution theory. You would think that in all these thousands of years cats would have a little better opinion of us. (G)

Why would they? We're a bunch of suckers. We feed them, groom them, clean their crap and they won't even play fetch (actually, my cat plays fetch) with us but we still keep them around.

Kinda makes you wonder: which species is the pet: humans or cats?

15 posted on 04/09/2004 8:15:23 AM PDT by Modernman (Work is the curse of the drinking classes. -Oscar Wilde)
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To: Modernman
Why would they? We're a bunch of suckers. We feed them, groom them, clean their crap and they won't even play fetch (actually, my cat plays fetch) with us but we still keep them around.

Consider this, though - they won't make a mess on the floor unless they are very upset about something, they will only eat until they are full, and they keep the yard free of vermin (of course they will somethimes try to bring it inside).

On the other hand, my sister's Lab was sick for a week after eating part of a deer carcas discarded by a hunter. He will also occasionally eat his own poop.

16 posted on 04/09/2004 8:23:49 AM PDT by Hacksaw (theocratic paleoconistic Confederate flag waving loyalty oath supporter)
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To: Hacksaw
Consider this, though - they won't make a mess on the floor unless they are very upset about something, they will only eat until they are full, and they keep the yard free of vermin (of course they will somethimes try to bring it inside).

I used to be a dog person until my fiance and I adopted her sister's Maine Coon (20lbs, looks like a bobcat). I was stunned by how smart the little goobers are. A little too smart, sometimes. Our cat has figured out how to open doors using the doorhandles (probably couldn't do it if we had doorknobs). Opening and closing cupboards is no problem. Plus, he can tell the difference between a tuna can and a can of soup.

We ended up adopting a kitten to keep him occupied while we were out of the house during the day. She's some type of mix- looks like a little gray cheetah. If anything, she's even smarter than her big brother.

17 posted on 04/09/2004 8:32:22 AM PDT by Modernman (Work is the curse of the drinking classes. -Oscar Wilde)
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To: Modernman
I used to be a dog person until my fiance and I adopted her sister's Maine Coon (20lbs, looks like a bobcat). I was stunned by how smart the little goobers are. A little too smart, sometimes. Our cat has figured out how to open doors using the doorhandles (probably couldn't do it if we had doorknobs). Opening and closing cupboards is no problem. Plus, he can tell the difference between a tuna can and a can of soup.

Yes, one of mine learned that if he jumps against the storm door long enough, it will open. I also can not open tuna in the house. It drives them nuts - almost like a drug.

18 posted on 04/09/2004 8:36:57 AM PDT by Hacksaw (theocratic paleoconistic Confederate flag waving loyalty oath supporter)
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To: vannrox
Is the phiotograph in the article that of an African wildcat?
19 posted on 04/09/2004 8:54:20 AM PDT by squarebarb
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To: Hacksaw
MY PETEY looks just like the cat depicted, I just finshed feeding my old cat[ MRS KITTY} her daily marshmellow they are so good for me the day would be awful boring without them ,like having children all over again without the heartbreak.
20 posted on 04/09/2004 8:58:14 AM PDT by douglas1 (i CANNOT IMAGINE)
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To: Modernman
Our cat has figured out how to open doors using the doorhandles (probably couldn't do it if we had doorknobs).

My cats study the door handles intently, but they just can't reach high enough to do anything about it. But they seem to know that they'd be free to roam if only...

21 posted on 04/09/2004 9:04:55 AM PDT by texasbluebell
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To: texasbluebell; Modernman
>My cats study the door handles intently

My pick for the best
cat book ever. Typically,
Heinlein's cat is tough . . .

(The guy and his cat
live in a house with lots of
doors. In the Winter,

the cat makes the guy
do all doors, searching for the
door into Summer . . .)











22 posted on 04/09/2004 9:16:59 AM PDT by theFIRMbss
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To: theFIRMbss
Door Into Summer was the first science fiction book I bought. Came from the Science Fiction Book Club, around 1957. I've forgotten most of the plot, but I thought it involved induced dreams, suspended animation and such.
23 posted on 04/09/2004 9:24:48 AM PDT by js1138 (In a minute there is time, for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. J Forbes Kerry)
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To: theFIRMbss
That cat has a cloned look about it.
24 posted on 04/09/2004 9:55:22 AM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (I have joined the "More Than a Dollar Per Day Donor Club.")
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To: theFIRMbss
...door into Summer...

I like that. Might have to try to find that door myself.

25 posted on 04/09/2004 12:01:41 PM PDT by texasbluebell
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To: squarebarb
Is the phiotograph in the article that of an African wildcat?

I'm pretty sure it's a previously unpublished photo of my Ernie. ;o)


26 posted on 04/09/2004 12:34:39 PM PDT by NautiNurse (Missing Iraqi botulinum toxin? Look at John Kerry's face)
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To: Conspiracy Guy
>That cat has a cloned look about it

Contrary to films
and books and pop myth, clones might
not look like their source!

Here's the DNA
donor, the confirmed clone, and
the explanation:


"However, for those with the financial wherewithal and the urge to replicate your aging cat, a few words of caution are advisable. First, your cloned cat will not be an exact duplicate of your first cat. Indeed, CC is not an exact replica of her genetic mother, Rainbow, who is a calico. CC has many of her mom's markings, but apparently lacks the calico X chromosome containing a gene for orange coat color. The reason behind this involves a complicated description, but apparently centers on the theory that the nuclear transfer process used by the Texas researchers "does not reset X-activation, and also that the cumulus cell used had an orange coat gene on the inactivated X-chromosome," according to this explanation by Gene Savings & Clone."
27 posted on 04/09/2004 12:55:56 PM PDT by theFIRMbss
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To: theFIRMbss
Then cloning has not been achieved. This is little more than egg substitution. We've been duped again.
28 posted on 04/09/2004 1:00:45 PM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (I have joined the "More Than a Dollar Per Day Donor Club.")
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To: js1138
Door Into Summer was the first science fiction book I bought. Came from the Science Fiction Book Club, around 1957. I've forgotten most of the plot, but I thought it involved induced dreams, suspended animation and such.

Robert Heinein. A guy gets screwed over by his wife and business partner, and because of suspended animation is able to have his revenge. He takes his cat with him into the sleep chamber.

29 posted on 04/10/2004 8:32:54 AM PDT by Hacksaw (theocratic paleoconistic Confederate flag waving loyalty oath supporter)
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To: vannrox; blam; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; 49th; ...

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

 
Gods
Graves
Glyphs
Blast from the Past -- this topic is from 2004.

Thanks VannRox for posting it over three years ago.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are Blam, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

· Google · Archaeologica · ArchaeoBlog · Archaeology magazine · Biblical Archaeology Society ·
· Mirabilis · Texas AM Anthropology News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo ·
· History or Science & Nature Podcasts · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·


30 posted on 12/17/2007 12:58:39 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Monday, December 10, 2007____________________https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv

Slow week around the SunkenCiv hill fort and food emporium? ;-)


31 posted on 12/17/2007 1:02:58 PM PST by CholeraJoe (Some days it doesn't even make sense to chew through the restraints.)
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To: Kay Syrah
"... the proximity of human bones to the cat's suggests that the cat wished to have his human near him in some sort of after life..."

Exactly.

32 posted on 12/17/2007 1:03:46 PM PST by BenLurkin
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To: vannrox

Lion meets human friends-—really amazing

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=036_1186245897


33 posted on 12/17/2007 1:12:42 PM PST by eleni121 (+ En Touto Nika! By this sign conquer! + Constantine the Great)
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To: theFIRMbss

I love that book, also - one of Heinlein’s best, and that is saying a lot...


34 posted on 12/17/2007 1:19:48 PM PST by Hegemony Cricket (Although most dead people vote democrat, aborted babies, if given the choice, would vote Republican.)
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To: BenLurkin

I'm goin' to teh aftrlyf, n' Im takin' you wit me.

35 posted on 12/17/2007 1:20:30 PM PST by SlowBoat407 (Just how will wrecking the U.S. economy save the planet?)
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To: SlowBoat407

36 posted on 12/17/2007 1:25:34 PM PST by Hegemony Cricket (Although most dead people vote democrat, aborted babies, if given the choice, would vote Republican.)
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To: theFIRMbss

Honor Harrington and Nimitz :)

37 posted on 12/17/2007 1:28:53 PM PST by mewzilla (In politics the middle way is none at all. John Adams)
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To: Slings and Arrows

Kitty ping?


38 posted on 12/17/2007 1:43:36 PM PST by MizSterious (Deport all the illegals to sanctuary cities.)
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To: CholeraJoe

I spent last week hurling large stones at the attacking barbarian hordes, so I figured I needed a week off. ;’)

This topic turned up in a search for Natufian on FR.

As if that wasn’t obvious. /joke alert


39 posted on 12/17/2007 2:00:24 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Monday, December 10, 2007____________________https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: BenLurkin

Oh my, this is an old one. Thread with nine lives eh?

Bastet approves

40 posted on 12/17/2007 5:39:11 PM PST by Kay Syrah
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To: SunkenCiv
I spent last week hurling large stones at the attacking barbarian hordes, so I figured I needed a week off. ;’)

Attacking barbarian hordes always make for lively discussion.

41 posted on 12/17/2007 5:39:56 PM PST by GoLightly
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To: GoLightly

...from a safe distance... ;’)


42 posted on 12/17/2007 5:47:54 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Monday, December 10, 2007____________________https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv
...from a safe distance... ;’)

Thus your large stone hurling, rather than hand to hand combat.

43 posted on 12/17/2007 5:53:02 PM PST by GoLightly
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To: NautiNurse

Ernie looks like he does not suffer fools gladly.

We have barn cats that can outwit, outlast and outfight most large dogs, but still grab a lap or a hearth as needed. Cats are opportunists who learned long ago that they can play the humans while doing just enough work to get by. Gotta love em’.


44 posted on 12/17/2007 5:55:59 PM PST by alarm rider (Why should I not vote my conscience?)
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To: vannrox

Interesting factoid. Waiting for the cat-bashing to begin....


45 posted on 12/17/2007 6:01:34 PM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue.)
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To: alarm rider
Ernie looks like he does not suffer fools gladly.

Ha! That photo was taken when Ernie was a young buck. Now he's a blob...albeit an adorable and sweet furry blob. He is content to ride around the house on my left shoulder.

46 posted on 12/17/2007 6:26:17 PM PST by NautiNurse (Plants are people too)
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To: MizSterious; Slings and Arrows; Glenn; republicangel; Bahbah; Beaker; BADROTOFINGER; etabeta; ...

47 posted on 12/17/2007 9:05:38 PM PST by Slings and Arrows ("Bush is destroying the solar system:The ice caps on Mars are shrinking too." --Right_Wing_Madman)
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To: squarebarb

It is a North African Wildcat — Felis silvestris lybica.


48 posted on 12/17/2007 9:16:46 PM PST by The KG9 Kid
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To: Hacksaw
He takes his cat with him into the sleep chamber

That makes sense. I always take my cats with me when I take a nap.

49 posted on 12/18/2007 3:35:35 AM PST by meowmeow (In Loving Memory of Our Dear Viking Kitty (1987-2006))
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To: Slings and Arrows

Thank-you, Merry Christmas as well, for PINGING cat related news stories lists. =^..^=


50 posted on 12/18/2007 6:16:22 AM PST by Biggirl (A biggirl with a big heart for God's animal creation, with 4 cats in my life as proof. =^..^=)
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