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Ever wonder how cats came live in our homes and be domesticated? Well, that's certainly on some scientists' minds, and remains of a Chinese Stone Age village might hold some answers.
The evidence of possible early domestication of cats was found in the remains of a farming village called Quanhucan, which is located in central China, reports USA Today. Cat remains were found in garbage pits in the village, with two distinct skeletons being over 5,300 years old.
Scientists at the site wager that the cats could have been used to keep the mice population down, which would have wreaked havoc on grain storage.
Fiona Marshall of Washington University in St. Louis said, "What's really exciting about this study is it's the first evidence that shows us the processes by which cats came to live with humans."
People have always wondered how cats came to be domesticated and there are very little clues, as opposed to dogs, where they came to be useful for hunters. According to the International Business Times, the popular theory is that cats became adapted to living around humans and hunting for vermin in villages and domestication went from there.
Cat geneticist Leslie Lyons notes, "We often argue if our cats are fully domesticated now. Cats have always remained a bit closer to the wild."
As the remains were found in garbage pits, some question whether the cats were pets then, perhaps they were merely tolerated then or they could have just treated them as any other wild animals.
image: Wikimedia Commons