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Researchers Learn How Wild Cats Evolved into House Cats

Ever wonder how cats became evolved into household pets? Science may have the answer.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine studied genetic changes in the mighty cat and recently published those findings in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Science reports on the study, noting that scientists found a minimum of 13 genes that underwent various changes from the days of the wild cats to the time of the house cat.

The Science article also points out that some cats still have a wild streak.  That may be a result of how and when cats evolved into domesticated friends. From the article:

“Co-author William Murphy, a geneticist at Texas A&M University, College Station, says the cat genome appears to have undergone less intense and more recent evolutionary pressure than that of dogs; that’s not surprising, considering that dogs may have lived with us for up to 30,000 years. ‘Cats were not selected for a purpose like dogs and other domesticates,’ Murphy speculates. ‘They just hung out, and humans tolerated them.'”

The findings help shed more light on the evolution of cats, which has also been studied on an archaeological level in recent years.

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