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): https://252mya.com/gallery/julio-lacerda
    Ceri Thomas (who illustrated Felis silvestris lybica): http://alphynix.tumblr.com/

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: http://youtube.com/pbsdigitalstudios

    Super special thanks to the following Patreon patrons for helping make Eons possible:

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

Comments • 3 696

  • Peluso
    Peluso  5 hours back

    meow

    • YK Chan
      YK Chan  6 hours back

      We domesticated cats or cats domesticated us?

      • Cody Petersen
        Cody Petersen  7 hours back

        Can you do a video of Australia animals

        • Ex Tyger
          Ex Tyger  14 hours back

          Cats are superior to dogs.

          • mintbluberry
            mintbluberry  16 hours back

            Please do an episode on the history of eggs! (Both the shelled kind and the mammalian kind please!) 🐣

            • Cocaine Minaj
              Cocaine Minaj  17 hours back

              Awe kitties

              • Daniel Vazjav
                Daniel Vazjav  18 hours back

                Talk about the strange creatures of every period in the Cenozoic era!

                • meesalikeu
                  meesalikeu  20 hours back

                  one thing is for sure, cats domesticated the internet

                  • Tizona Amanthia
                    Tizona Amanthia  20 hours back

                    Meow.

                    • Officer Meow Meow Fuzzyface

                      Right Meow? That supposed to be some kind of joke at my expense? OFFENDED!

                      • Dan Ness
                        Dan Ness  1 days back

                        I suspect that 8 month old cat did something that killed both of them and scattered seashells all over the floor.

                        Just sayin.

                        • Aydin Barnbrook
                          Aydin Barnbrook  1 days back

                          Honestly I think Schools would love to show this. Maybe even just get them to rewatch your videos or some of them. Honestly there are a lot better teachers on youtube than public schools. Your videos are perfect for elementary, kids would love to see this kind of stuff in my opinion.

                          • Frεε Heart and Paw Necklace on my Profile

                            Much gorgeous! 🐾💖

                            • Weekly Dive Dose
                              Weekly Dive Dose  1 days back

                              Very interesting, but you’re wrong from the title...cats have domesticated us 😅😉

                              • wheelmanstan
                                wheelmanstan  1 days 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 days back

                                  Humans DID NOT domesticate cats. Cats domesticated themselves.

                                  • oOoHCGoOo
                                    oOoHCGoOo  1 days back

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

                                    • Desert Moon
                                      Desert Moon  2 days back

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

                                      • AisforInterval
                                        AisforInterval  2 days 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  2 days back

                                          Please do an episode for when carnivorous plants ruled the earth

                                          • rockguru14
                                            rockguru14  2 days back

                                            Me when I'm sober: PBS Eons

                                            Me when I'm high: Bill Wurtz

                                            • Polash Quadhi
                                              Polash Quadhi  2 days 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  2 days back

                                                Sorry, but cats domesticated humans.

                                                • The Macz1
                                                  The Macz1  2 days back

                                                  Poor cat was murdered

                                                  • KnowComment
                                                    KnowComment  2 days 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  2 days back

                                                      I want to go to Cyprus now

                                                      • TornadoOfTerror _
                                                        TornadoOfTerror _  2 days back

                                                        These cats are so adorable TvT

                                                        • binyamin2021
                                                          binyamin2021  2 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  2 days back

                                                            I hate cats

                                                            • touraj azmoudeh
                                                              touraj azmoudeh  3 days back

                                                              but really DID WE?!!!

                                                              • Ch L
                                                                Ch L  3 days back

                                                                Much peed on my playstation

                                                                • Parker Addams
                                                                  Parker Addams  3 days back

                                                                  "we" domesticated cats. they chose this.

                                                                  • Canzandridas Joe
                                                                    Canzandridas Joe  3 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  3 days back

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

                                                                      • King Tua
                                                                        King Tua  3 days back

                                                                        Can we domesticate crocodiles

                                                                        • Nickolas H
                                                                          Nickolas H  3 days back

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

                                                                          • HiWetcam
                                                                            HiWetcam  3 days back

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

                                                                            • Harry Lime
                                                                              Harry Lime  3 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  3 days back

                                                                                I live in cyprus and ı have 5 cats

                                                                                • Wassoll Das
                                                                                  Wassoll Das  3 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  3 days back

                                                                                    Human cant domesticate cats cats domesticates humans

                                                                                    • Bahrain
                                                                                      Bahrain  3 days back

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

                                                                                      • scotttufts
                                                                                        scotttufts  3 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  3 days back

                                                                                          This story is just one big play on words.

                                                                                          • Photo Finish
                                                                                            Photo Finish  3 days back

                                                                                            Dumping grounds, just like the British dumping pigeons everywhere.

                                                                                            • frep you
                                                                                              frep you  3 days back

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

                                                                                              • Shadow Realm
                                                                                                Shadow Realm  3 days back

                                                                                                Cars rule the word

                                                                                                • Agustin Mario Quiroga
                                                                                                  Agustin Mario Quiroga  3 days back

                                                                                                  You guys got anything on the peopling of the Americas ?