I’ve updated yesterday’s cat evolution post with some tough comments from an expert on cat fossils. Check it out.
Is it true that cats were independently domesticated in different parts of the world – Egypt, Thailand and China? I have heard so somewhere but cannot find evidence either way.
So this may not really answer your question… But I think I remember a reference in Guns, Germs, and Steel (an amazing book by Jared Diamond if you haven’t read it) that mentions cats being domesticated in northern Africa (presumably Egypt). I don’t recall any mention of the other two locations, and I would think he would have mentioned it since he wrote about many domesticated animals human have managed to “tame.”
Jared Diamond also wrote another book “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed” which is also neck and neck with his Germs book. This is an author who’s books I would buy as he is an outstanding writer filling his writings with lots of “Oh Wow!” moments. I also beleive just yesterday I read an article in our newspaper about the evolution of cats. Seems they came from many different places on earth and evolved as specific species in each place, although a cat is a cat is a cat. I love ’em and their independent attitude.
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Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The Loom. He is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.