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 • 3 685

  • meesalikeu
    meesalikeu  27 minutes back

    one thing is for sure, cats domesticated the internet

    • Tizona Amanthia
      Tizona Amanthia  31 minutes back

      Meow.

      • Officer Meow Meow Fuzzyface

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

        • Dan Ness
          Dan Ness  5 hours 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  5 hours 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  14 hours back

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

                • wheelmanstan
                  wheelmanstan  15 hours 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  15 hours back

                    Humans DID NOT domesticate cats. Cats domesticated themselves.

                    • oOoHCGoOo
                      oOoHCGoOo  16 hours back

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

                      • Desert Moon
                        Desert Moon  19 hours back

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

                        • AisforInterval
                          AisforInterval  20 hours 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  20 hours back

                            Please do an episode for when carnivorous plants ruled the earth

                            • rockguru14
                              rockguru14  23 hours back

                              Me when I'm sober: PBS Eons

                              Me when I'm high: Bill Wurtz

                              • Polash Quadhi
                                Polash Quadhi  1 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  1 days back

                                  Sorry, but cats domesticated humans.

                                  • The Macz1
                                    The Macz1  1 days back

                                    Poor cat was murdered

                                    • KnowComment
                                      KnowComment  1 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  1 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  2 days back

                                                but really DID WE?!!!

                                                • Ch L
                                                  Ch L  2 days back

                                                  Much peed on my playstation

                                                  • Parker Addams
                                                    Parker Addams  2 days back

                                                    "we" domesticated cats. they chose this.

                                                    • Canzandridas Joe
                                                      Canzandridas Joe  2 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  2 days back

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

                                                        • King Tua
                                                          King Tua  2 days back

                                                          Can we domesticate crocodiles

                                                          • Nickolas H
                                                            Nickolas H  2 days back

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

                                                            • HiWetcam
                                                              HiWetcam  2 days back

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

                                                              • Harry Lime
                                                                Harry Lime  2 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  2 days back

                                                                  I live in cyprus and ı have 5 cats

                                                                  • Wassoll Das
                                                                    Wassoll Das  2 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  2 days back

                                                                      Human cant domesticate cats cats domesticates humans

                                                                      • Bahrain
                                                                        Bahrain  2 days back

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

                                                                        • scotttufts
                                                                          scotttufts  2 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  2 days back

                                                                            This story is just one big play on words.

                                                                            • Photo Finish
                                                                              Photo Finish  2 days back

                                                                              Dumping grounds, just like the British dumping pigeons everywhere.

                                                                              • frep you
                                                                                frep you  2 days back

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

                                                                                • Shadow Realm
                                                                                  Shadow Realm  2 days back

                                                                                  Cars rule the word

                                                                                  • Agustin Mario Quiroga
                                                                                    Agustin Mario Quiroga  2 days back

                                                                                    You guys got anything on the peopling of the Americas ?

                                                                                    • Lorkhanable
                                                                                      Lorkhanable  2 days back

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

                                                                                      • Peter Walker
                                                                                        Peter Walker  2 days back

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

                                                                                        • mr spring
                                                                                          mr spring  2 days back

                                                                                          Do a video on evolution of ants

                                                                                          • TANGT2
                                                                                            TANGT2  3 days back

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

                                                                                            • Sujay Shah
                                                                                              Sujay Shah  3 days back

                                                                                              Cats: "How We Domesticated Humans (Twice)"

                                                                                              • Maxenne Dalgelish
                                                                                                Maxenne Dalgelish  3 days back

                                                                                                Meow

                                                                                                • pepe6666
                                                                                                  pepe6666  3 days back

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