How We Domesticated Cats (Twice)

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  • Published: 07 November 2019
  • A 9,500 year old burial in Cyprus represents some of the oldest known evidence of human/cat companionships anywhere in the world. But when did this close relationship between humans and cats start? And how did humans help cats take over the world? 

    Big thanks to these paleoartists for allowing us to use their wonderful illustrations:
    Julio Lacerda (who illustrated the Cyprus grave site): 252mya.com/gallery/julio-lacerda
    Ceri Thomas (who illustrated Felis silvestris lybica): alphynix.tumblr.com/

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: vipmarathi.mobi/user/pbsdigitalstudios

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    Katie Fichtner, Anthony Callaghan, Gina Viglietti, Laura Sanborn, Jack Arbuckle, David Sewall, Anton Bryl, Ben Thorson, Andrey, MissyElliottSmith, The Scintillating Spencer, Zachary Spencer, Stefan Weber, Ilya Murashov, Robert Amling, Po Foon Kwong, Larry Wilson, Merri Snaidman, John Vanek, Esmeralda Rupp-Spangle, Gregory Donovan, Gabriel Cortez, Marcus Lejon, Robert Arévalo, Robert Hill, Todd Dittman, Betsy Radley, PS, Philip Slingerland, Eric Vonk, Henrik Peteri, Jonathan Wright, Jon Monteiro, James Bording, Brad Nicholls, Miles Chaston, Michael McClellan, Jeff Graham, Maria Humphrey, Nathan Paskett, Connor Jensen, Daisuke Goto, Hubert Rady, Gregory Kintz, Tyson Cleary, Chandler Bass, Joao Ascensao, Tsee Lee, Alex Yan

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    References: docs.google.com/document/d/1PrjxNeht0mNaC1ROZQtSd4vs6eFljlq0Wk0W4Twh7ZQ/edit?usp=sharing
  • Science and Technology Science and Technology

Comments • 3 667

  • wheelmanstan
    wheelmanstan  25 minutes back

    that's why cats are awesome, they still look like their ancestors, therefore still capable and amazing, with the exception of persians and munchkins which are man-made abominations, how's that even legal, it's sad

    • Le Visionarium
      Le Visionarium  1 hours back

      Humans DID NOT domesticate cats. Cats domesticated themselves.

      • oOoHCGoOo
        oOoHCGoOo  2 hours back

        Cats be havin' sex super quick. You'll here a quick RAWR!!! and then they're done.

        • Lexington & Concord
          Lexington & Concord  3 hours back

          Dark docs??

          • Desert Moon
            Desert Moon  5 hours back

            They will never be fully domesticated they should stay in the wild where they belong

            • AisforInterval
              AisforInterval  6 hours back

              This might be an odd topic, but would it be possible to cover the evolution of diseases? Like the oldest known ailments found in fossils, to the mysterious emergence of the bubonic plague? Or if that's not enough to work with, you could cover the evolution of the immune system and allergies!

              • G
                G  6 hours back

                Please do an episode for when carnivorous plants ruled the earth

                • rockguru14
                  rockguru14  9 hours back

                  Me when I'm sober: PBS Eons

                  Me when I'm high: Bill Wurtz

                  • Polash Quadhi
                    Polash Quadhi  11 hours back

                    Somehow USA has to find everything's origin in Egypt, even if you find it somewhere else you must find another one in Egypt.

                    • linlin lixin
                      linlin lixin  13 hours back

                      Sorry, but cats domesticated humans.

                      • The Macz1
                        The Macz1  18 hours back

                        Poor cat was murdered

                        • KnowComment
                          KnowComment  18 hours back

                          Just as a point of reference here regarding feral cats, when they were introduced to the Americas they wiped out several native species of bird. Wiped out as in extinct. With any other such introduction of a non-native species causing that much environmental damage we would have considered them a pest and had them eradicated. Just food for thought

                          • Daniel Lewis
                            Daniel Lewis  21 hours back

                            I want to go to Cyprus now

                            • TornadoOfTerror _
                              TornadoOfTerror _  23 hours back

                              These cats are so adorable TvT

                              • binyamin2021
                                binyamin2021  1 days back

                                @PBS Eons, I know you already made a video on Ediacran life, but could you make a video talking about the divergence of animals and fungi (or holozoa and holomycota?)?! Thank you!

                                • 1 minute ago
                                  1 minute ago  1 days back

                                  I hate cats

                                  • touraj azmoudeh
                                    touraj azmoudeh  1 days back

                                    but really DID WE?!!!

                                    • Ch L
                                      Ch L  1 days back

                                      Much peed on my playstation

                                      • Parker Addams
                                        Parker Addams  1 days back

                                        "we" domesticated cats. they chose this.

                                        • Canzandridas Joe
                                          Canzandridas Joe  1 days back

                                          I started with PBS Space Time, and now I'm hooked to PBS Eons... I don't really know if I want or should check if there're more

                                          • Balaji Ponnusamy
                                            Balaji Ponnusamy  1 days back

                                            Ancient human used cats to clean their mess within their settlements but what's happening today?

                                            • King Tua
                                              King Tua  2 days back

                                              Can we domesticate crocodiles

                                              • Nickolas H
                                                Nickolas H  2 days back

                                                Who else here is from Cyprus? We the kitty island of Europe. 😊🐱🐈

                                                • HiWetcam
                                                  HiWetcam  2 days back

                                                  See the disgusting bent spine ‘ideal’ German Shepherd pic at time 5:00?

                                                  • Harry Lime
                                                    Harry Lime  2 days back

                                                    Cats are still kill for thrill animals. That has never been bread out of them. They kill to kill, not just to eat..
                                                    Australia has a real problem with feral cats.. harmless animals in Australia that have lived there for thousands of years like the koala bear and the sloth are being wiped out by feral cats. it is not known how many species of indigenous animals that have lived in Australia for thousands of years have already been wiped out by the cat ...

                                                    • xenomorph özkan n
                                                      xenomorph özkan n  2 days back

                                                      I live in cyprus and ı have 5 cats

                                                      • Wassoll Das
                                                        Wassoll Das  2 days back

                                                        Is a cat actually "domesticated"? I mean, usualy we use "domesticated" on lifeforms, that have, from one point onwards, an evolution that is controlled by humans instead of nature and by this clearly differ to the non-domesticated variant by DNA.


                                                        Humans domesticated wheat/corn and fruits and vegetables, horses and sheep and goats and dogs. But cats?


                                                        If cats are domesticated, then the genepool of house cats would need to be different from the genepool of wild cats. Their genepool would need to be optimized for a life alongside humans. (Like dogs genepool is. Human took a wolf and cleansed the genepool from everything he doesnt like and then he picked very rare genetical traits that he liked and made them so common that every single dog has them. THATS what is called "Domesticated". Thats totaly different from "tame".


                                                        "Tame" is = the animal has LEANED to exist alongside humans. "Domesticated" means, the animals DNA was altered to perfectly exist alongside humans. Thats why one usualy warns from "tame" wild animals. BEcause their DNA is still wild, they can suddenly turn back to wild behavior. Domesticated animals should have that behavior removed from their genepool. At least mostly.

                                                        • EbuHasan sabbah
                                                          EbuHasan sabbah  2 days back

                                                          Human cant domesticate cats cats domesticates humans

                                                          • Bahrain
                                                            Bahrain  2 days back

                                                            9500 years ago he had a boat !! How did he get to Cyprus

                                                            • scotttufts
                                                              scotttufts  2 days back

                                                              Think about the 18 hundreds where cats will hunt rabbits and flay them for you oh wait that was 1997 for me

                                                              • Photo Finish
                                                                Photo Finish  2 days back

                                                                This story is just one big play on words.

                                                                • Photo Finish
                                                                  Photo Finish  2 days back

                                                                  Dumping grounds, just like the British dumping pigeons everywhere.

                                                                  • frep you
                                                                    frep you  2 days back

                                                                    are you sure the cats did not domesticate humans ^_-

                                                                    • Shadow Realm
                                                                      Shadow Realm  2 days back

                                                                      Cars rule the word

                                                                      • Agustin Mario Quiroga
                                                                        Agustin Mario Quiroga  2 days back

                                                                        You guys got anything on the peopling of the Americas ?

                                                                        • Lorkhanable
                                                                          Lorkhanable  2 days back

                                                                          I have a question for a video! Why do some Asian peoples have thin eyes?

                                                                          • Peter Walker
                                                                            Peter Walker  2 days back

                                                                            Yes well, if they were 10 times larger our relationship with them would be somewhat different ...

                                                                            • mr spring
                                                                              mr spring  2 days back

                                                                              Do a video on evolution of ants

                                                                              • TANGT2
                                                                                TANGT2  2 days back

                                                                                I saw a feral cat in a plantation yesterday, I was happy to see cats living in natural habitats.

                                                                                • Sujay Shah
                                                                                  Sujay Shah  2 days back

                                                                                  Cats: "How We Domesticated Humans (Twice)"

                                                                                  • Maxenne Dalgelish
                                                                                    Maxenne Dalgelish  2 days back

                                                                                    Meow

                                                                                    • pepe6666
                                                                                      pepe6666  2 days back

                                                                                      we domesticated them twice because they wanted in, then wanted out, then wanted in again

                                                                                      • Marwan Mohammed
                                                                                        Marwan Mohammed  2 days back

                                                                                        The cats chose us and we never chose them.there the boses

                                                                                        • Ryan M
                                                                                          Ryan M  2 days back

                                                                                          What is this guy talking about. There are way more than six hundred million people on the planet.

                                                                                          • drtyrrant king
                                                                                            drtyrrant king  2 days back

                                                                                            Leave that guys pet alone jezz

                                                                                            • Michael Knight
                                                                                              Michael Knight  2 days back

                                                                                              I am just going to say this and get it off my chest. This is a total ripoff of, "Today I found out"! Total rip off. I think if you look at the earlier episodes of that show though.... you have to say they are stupid. Hopefully this show gets it's own flavor.

                                                                                              • Galactic Vixen
                                                                                                Galactic Vixen  2 days back

                                                                                                Humans reading: *How we domesticated cats twice*


                                                                                                Cats reading: *how we domesticated humans twice*

                                                                                                • Romeishome
                                                                                                  Romeishome  2 days back

                                                                                                  Ancient human: Hey cat. Domesticate?

                                                                                                  Ancient cat: I do what I want.