10000 Years Ago People Achieved Domesticating Plants And Animals. Cat Evolution & Domestication

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Cat Evolution & Domestication

Cat evolution has been going on for a long time…longer than humans have been on earth. And when the people finally showed up, the cat let us in right away.

Noah may have had cats on the Ark that he built for the great flood, but was it the ancestor of what we know as the house cat today? It can be confusing to think that everything that exists in the world, is everything that has already existed in light of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, ie fossil discoveries. I think the story of Noah is meant to show a greater sense of meaning than the one that tells the rebirth of life after even a great rain. Scholars generally place the flood sometime in the 2nd and 3rd millennium BC, or some 4 – 5 thousand years ago. That was about the time the Egyptians were making the first cats. Did they get in the car? And how safe do mice and rats feel? Are the cats guarding the food reserves on the ark that everyone relies on until dry land is underfoot again? And how did those Koalas get on the boat if they were on the Australian continent? Indeed, the best 5000 years can do is raise many questions.

The biggest factor in any argument is time. Time changes everything, including the diametric of a species. As people spread across the world, their skin color changed, eating habits adapted to new areas, conflicts occurred with others also migrating for valuable lands that provided life support resources. good, ie plenty of game for the hunters, then domestic animals and food/grains for food.

Survival is the excuse of failure. One either survives… or not. It is a recognizable part of “life” that you want to survive. Another survival characteristic is that individual members of a species, do not, or rather only do so for a limited time. Lifetime as we call it. Only large groups or isolates of rocks, trees and sensitive organisms, including any species can survive for indefinite periods of time, if successful.

The fossil record of cat evolution is very incomplete. Evidence dates back to around 200 million years ago, with cat evolution beginning when they diverged from mammals. Since that time scientists have divided the cat family into two main groups. Feline cats which include all modern cat species, as well as saber-toothed cats, all of which are extinct. The ‘Family Felidae’ or Feline cats are grouped into three Basics:

  • Panthera – Lions and tigers and … panthers, or roaring cats.
  • Felis – Lynx, ocelots, your Fluffy and other small cats.
  • Acinonyx – or cheetah. They are on a side of themselves because they can’t retract their toes like all other cats.

First, cat evolutionary diagrams have cats divided into two main groups: Big Cats and Small Cats. The difference is based on the size and shape of their skulls. But, we discovered that the division was not possible because studies eventually showed a gradual change of skull characteristics from small to large cats. Essentially there is no separate difference using those techniques.

Recently, DNA studies have provided insights into cat evolution as they migrated from Asia to North America via the Bering Sea Land Bridge that appeared around 9 million years ago. These are the panther as a predator that first appeared in Asia about 2 million years before the Land Bridge was exposed by falling sea levels. Cats are considered, next to humans, the most successful of hunters. They would have followed moving prey and easily survived the challenges of navigating large areas as they explored new areas. (Think of a kitty nosing around an unexplored forest or strange object, either in or out of its territory) Later, many American families of new cats just returned to Asia by bridge and with each migration, the evolutionary forces turned these cats into a rainbow of species ranging from lions and leopards to lynxes, ocelots and domestic cats. Where are the people at this time? Well, nowhere to be found…yet. Anatomically modern humans appeared only in Africa, between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago, according to many experts using deductions based on mitochondrial DNA data. Obviously, the cat’s evolution is long on the history of being in this world.

It was around 10,000 years ago when people stopped being hunter-gatherers and started to cultivate the land, that the seeds of the relationship between people and cats began. At that time cats were found in many parts of the world except in the Arctic, Antarctica, Australia and poor Tundra areas. As early modern humans migrated from central Africa to Europe and Asia, it would have been impossible for cat and human paths not to cross. But, it was when people started growing seeds of cat species and people started to have a trusting relationship, creating an interesting, if not fateful, step in cat evolution.

From the beginning farmers recently found that food storage, especially grain storage, became attractive for small rodents such as mice and rats. Archeological evidence supports this in that the deposit ruins that have not been uncovered are the precursors of rodent bones found within the deposit materials. You can easily notice that the small cats follow their prey to the farms and maybe can not resist the concentration of the feast of rats and mice the early silos are being served. Humans, being intelligent creatures themselves, would have noticed the antipathy that rodents and cats have (have) for each other. An early farmer may have found some kittens and taken them home to try and raise them for the purpose of saving his hard work on the farm.

Most likely, the first young kittens will have retained much of their wild nature and maintained a ‘safe’ distance from their human sympathizers. But, as generations of kittens have had more contact with people, especially if people have cared for them as kittens, they will have become more tolerant of, and able to interact with, people. , maybe even sleeping in their house. Observed in this way, the initial stages of building may have begun. Two types of cats were most successful with the transition to this new relationship, Felis Silvestris and Felis Lybica. Silvestris becomes more adaptable to European regions and climate while Lybica prefers the Middle East.

The early Egyptians had many deities and these deities were attributed with animal powers. The chief god of Egypt was the sun god Ra, represented by a lion. Ra is said to rule the world at noon shining from the chariot of the sun moving across the sky from dawn to dusk. At night he falls into darkness where he is vulnerable to his enemies. But, having the powers of a lion he has the vision of a cat that can see in the dark to protect himself well. Bast is known as the goddess of fertility, birth and family who is also symbolized by the cat. It is no secret that the Egyptians noticed the motherly power of cats when they were caring for their kittens. Cats were buried with the Pharaohs, and they were also given their own burial places for the common people who had cats in their care.

After the rise of the Roman Empire, cats made their way to Europe as domestic animals. Cats also lost their ‘god’ status and took on the more practical role of being ‘pets’. By that time the cat-mouse-human triangle was well established, and as humans migrated, building up the world as they went, the cat and mouse went right along with them. Domestic cats travel the Spice Routes to Asia and cross the ocean to the Americas. Wherever they went, cats established populations not only by interbreeding within their own kind, but by interbreeding with native species they encountered along the way. The result has been a plethora of coat colors, hair lengths and coat patterns which identify cats today.

The effects of domestication on cat evolution can be summarized as follows:

  • The Period of Competition (before 7,000 BC) was characterized by wild cats competing with hunter-gatherers for birds and small animals.
  • The Period of Commensality (7,000 – 4,000 BC) was characterized by ‘semi-domestic’ cats that fed on insects around and within early villages.
  • The Early Domestic Period (4,000 – 3,000 BC) with the adoption of cats to cult status
  • Full House period (3,000 BC – present) popularity of cat domestication and spread of cats from Egypt*

The close association of cats and humans began when cultures began to form and we as humans settled from our modern travels can be conceived as a chance meeting. Our forefathers who have been working as farmers would have solved many problems, the solution to which is not taken seriously today. But, the cat does not forget their contribution to our success and this can even account for the seemingly proud nature. After all, the connection of everything in this world is only passed through human pride to remove such a thought by believing in the superiority of our own brain, which then only makes the belief in our connection from nature. Fortunately, only humans are capable of such mutterings. Cats never forget their roots. Let’s dig deep into evolution, domestication and time.

There are times when I find myself, like many others I suspect, lost in the loneliness that results from accepting the isolation of being, or the distance that seems to exist between each of us in this life. It was then that I only had to look at the sky, wondering at the distance between me and the infernal ovens that were the stars. Even at that great distance, which is measured in the time it takes light to travel in one year, I take comfort in the knowledge that we all have the same thing radiating from those power plants. We are so connected…yet, we take it blind for granted as we pursue the inflated tasks of life every day. Back here, my kitty lay on my lap and I patted her back while she quietly accepted the offer. It didn’t take much to change our roles, and put myself in his place, even to hold his back, feeling the pulse of my hand on him. And, with a little imagination, I can trace the cat’s evolutionary path in my mind.

* Thanks to Feline Advisory Bureau – Wiltshire, UK

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