Came across this cool factoid in the New Scientist magazine today:
A NEW feline family tree gleaned from DNA shows that cats were domesticated from local wildcats in the region that extends from Turkey down into Mesopotamia.
Carlos Driscoll at the US National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Maryland, and colleagues studied DNA from 979 domestic cats and wildcats from across Europe and Asia. The wildcats broke down into five groups, or clades, of the wildcat Felis silvestris: the European wildcat, the southern African wildcat, the central Asian wildcat, the Chinese desert cat and the Near Eastern wildcat.
All of the domestic cats – from fancy breeds to feral tabbies – fell within the Near Eastern wildcat group (Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1139518).
(The photo is of sweet, devilish little Percy, passed on it will be two years ago July 24th.)