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: avinastyle.ru/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 • 3 642

  • touraj azmoudeh
    touraj azmoudeh  2 hours back

    but really DID WE?!!!

    • Ch L
      Ch L  2 hours back

      Much peed on my playstation

      • Parker Addams
        Parker Addams  4 hours back

        "we" domesticated cats. they chose this.

        • Canzandridas Joe
          Canzandridas Joe  4 hours 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  6 hours back

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

            • Casey Bourbon
              Casey Bourbon  7 hours back

              This is great mainstream media PBS...Now I can eliminate one explanation of how cats were "domesticated."

              • King Tua
                King Tua  7 hours back

                Can we domesticate crocodiles

                • Nickolas H
                  Nickolas H  7 hours back

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

                  • HiWetcam
                    HiWetcam  7 hours back

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

                    • Harry Lime
                      Harry Lime  8 hours 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  10 hours back

                        I live in cyprus and ı have 5 cats

                        • Wassoll Das
                          Wassoll Das  10 hours 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  10 hours back

                            Human cant domesticate cats cats domesticates humans

                            • Bahrain
                              Bahrain  11 hours back

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

                              • scotttufts
                                scotttufts  12 hours 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  12 hours back

                                  This story is just one big play on words.

                                  • Photo Finish
                                    Photo Finish  12 hours back

                                    Dumping grounds, just like the British dumping pigeons everywhere.

                                    • frep you
                                      frep you  13 hours back

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

                                      • Shadow Realm
                                        Shadow Realm  13 hours back

                                        Cars rule the word

                                        • Agustin Mario Quiroga
                                          Agustin Mario Quiroga  15 hours back

                                          You guys got anything on the peopling of the Americas ?

                                          • Lorkhanable
                                            Lorkhanable  16 hours back

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

                                            • Peter Walker
                                              Peter Walker  16 hours back

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

                                              • mr spring
                                                mr spring  16 hours back

                                                Do a video on evolution of ants

                                                • TANGT2
                                                  TANGT2  17 hours back

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

                                                  • Sujay Shah
                                                    Sujay Shah  18 hours back

                                                    Cats: "How We Domesticated Humans (Twice)"

                                                    • Maxenne Dalgelish
                                                      Maxenne Dalgelish  19 hours back

                                                      Meow

                                                      • pepe6666
                                                        pepe6666  19 hours back

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

                                                        • Marwan Mohammed
                                                          Marwan Mohammed  19 hours back

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

                                                          • Ryan M
                                                            Ryan M  23 hours back

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

                                                            • drtyrrant king
                                                              drtyrrant king  24 hours back

                                                              Leave that guys pet alone jezz

                                                              • Michael Knight
                                                                Michael Knight  1 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  1 days back

                                                                  Humans reading: *How we domesticated cats twice*


                                                                  Cats reading: *how we domesticated humans twice*

                                                                  • Romeishome
                                                                    Romeishome  1 days back

                                                                    Ancient human: Hey cat. Domesticate?

                                                                    Ancient cat: I do what I want.

                                                                    • Buff Barnaby
                                                                      Buff Barnaby  1 days back

                                                                      Cyprus is The Pentagon for cats...planning to take over the world.

                                                                      • Buff Barnaby
                                                                        Buff Barnaby  1 days back

                                                                        I leave faucet dripping so if I die kitty has water. She loves faucet water.

                                                                        • Brenna Gilbertson
                                                                          Brenna Gilbertson  1 days back

                                                                          so can we undomesticate them again pls

                                                                          • uhde1000
                                                                            uhde1000  1 days back

                                                                            So I have 5 cats and they are outdoor and indoor cats and if we leave home for weeks at a time they can survive on there own by hunting and eating they also make there own shelter but if they want they also come inside and chill with us and eat from the food we give them so are they domesticated or not?

                                                                            • Nikki With The Blog
                                                                              Nikki With The Blog  1 days back

                                                                              They are definitely not domesticated lol. I had a house cat from birth and when I tell you that was a damn wild cat. Even after being neutered. He ran away after 4 years. Probably out here living his best life.

                                                                              • ZappaBlues
                                                                                ZappaBlues  1 days back

                                                                                Right mew,..... groan

                                                                                • aron hallam
                                                                                  aron hallam  1 days back

                                                                                  Buried with a man bun

                                                                                  • Kia Brown
                                                                                    Kia Brown  1 days back

                                                                                    Cats have been here for thousands years I'm sure just like their cousin before them some have gone extinct sadly

                                                                                    • Derek Leiro
                                                                                      Derek Leiro  1 days back

                                                                                      I feel like the relationship we have with cats is: you feed and provide shelter for me then I'll let you pet me

                                                                                      • Francis Muir
                                                                                        Francis Muir  1 days back

                                                                                        Cats domesticate us in ways that are not mutually exclusive with our domestication of them. This happens often with companion animals. Livestock have less impact on their herders.

                                                                                        • Kristinapedia
                                                                                          Kristinapedia  1 days back

                                                                                          Just because I cat has healed fracture’s does not mean it was healed by human. It probably healed on it’s own. They had no way to know the cat had a fracture because they didn’t have x-rays back then. 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️

                                                                                          • Zach Kline
                                                                                            Zach Kline  1 days back

                                                                                            if there was a “domesticated cat” on that island buried with a man, that proves cats didn’t all come from one species of wild cat

                                                                                            • Jadin Andrews
                                                                                              Jadin Andrews  1 days back

                                                                                              We have never domesticated cats, they domesticated us

                                                                                              • Rohan Ganguli
                                                                                                Rohan Ganguli  1 days back

                                                                                                this video should be called how we think we domesticated cats...

                                                                                                • boludoescoces
                                                                                                  boludoescoces  2 days back

                                                                                                  Slow down please!