PNAS2013-12-26 12:47 AM

Earliest evidence for commensal processes of cat domestication 猫类驯化共生关系的最早证据

Abstract
Domestic cats are one of the most popular pets globally, but the process of their domestication is not well understood. Near Eastern wildcats are thought to have been attracted to food sources in early agricultural settlements, following a commensal pathway to domestication. Early evidence for close human–cat relationships comes from a wildcat interred near a human on Cyprus ca. 9,500 y ago, but the earliest domestic cats are known only from Egyptian art dating to 4,000 y ago. Evidence is lacking from the key period of cat domestication 9,500–4,000 y ago. We report on the presence of cats directly dated between 5560–5280 cal B.P. in the early agricultural village of Quanhucun in Shaanxi, China. These cats were outside the wild range of Near Eastern wildcats and biometrically smaller, but within the size-range of domestic cats. The δ13C and δ15N values of human and animal bone collagen revealed substantial consumption of millet-based foods by humans, rodents, and cats. Ceramic storage containers designed to exclude rodents indicated a threat to stored grain in Yangshao villages. Taken together, isotopic and archaeological data demonstrate that cats were advantageous for ancient farmers. Isotopic data also show that one cat ate less meat and consumed more millet-based foods than expected, indicating that it scavenged among or was fed by people. This study offers fresh perspectives on cat domestication, providing the earliest known evidence for commensal relationships between people and cats.
论文摘要 家猫是全世界最受人们喜爱的宠物之一,但是家猫被驯化的过程到现在为止也不太为人所知。 最靠近东欧那边的野猫被食物资源所吸引而来,从此之后经历了和其他一些家畜一同被驯化的道路。早期的证据显示约9500年前,塞浦路斯的一只野猫被埋葬在一个人的旁边,但据记载最早的家猫出现是在4000年前的埃及艺术中。但在9500年前至4000年前的这段时间内,家猫存在却没有相关证据。我们报道了一个在早期中国陕西泉护村有猫的出现,将准确的时间精确到大约在人类出现前的5560-5280年间。这些骨头的尺寸相当于现代欧洲家猫的骨头尺寸,但是小于欧洲野猫的骨头。同位素δ13C 和δ15N对骨胶原蛋白的同位素分析表明人类、啮齿动物和猫大量食用以粟为基础的食物。在杨绍村中,陶瓷容器的设计就是为了防止啮齿类动物偷吃储存在里面的粮食。同位素和考古学的研究数据表明猫对于古代的农民有着帮助。同位素数据还显示了其中一只猫比其他猫吃更少的人,吃的以粟为基础的食物更多,这提示了这只猫可能吃了人类的残羹剩饭或者被人类喂养。这项研究刷新了家猫被驯服的历史,为猫和人类共生关系提供了早期的证据。

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