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Domestic Cat History Facts (selection) — 2 Comments

  1. Hi Michael. Thanks for an interesting article. As usual I have some additional information. The definition of the Mediterranean basin regional genetic group is really quite inaccurate. There are 3 regions that have Mediterranean coast lines. Europe, North Africa, and East Mediterranean Anatolia. The genetic identities of cats in these 3 regions are quite different but in places mixed. Italy, S France and Spain are Mediterranean countries but the cats are predominantly European. Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel are also Mediterranean countries but the cats are genetically distinct from European cats. The cats from N Africa reflect the importation of cats from Europe, but Egyptian cats are a mixed bag showing that they are imports from surrounding regions. This soundly upsets the old theory that the domestic cat originated in Egypt. The most probably place of domestication and rapid population growth is Turkey where the feline genetic signatures are very homogeneous without any significant foreign influence. Furthermore Turkish cats have the highest number of alleles which indicates original founding stock and not descendants from a smaller number of cats from other regions. The attached graph shows that the Mediterranean classification has now been subdivided, but even so has some important errors. Tunisian and Italian cats are classified as East Mediterranean Anatolian which is obviously wrong and does not tally with the DNA results. This seems to be another attempt to justify the authenticity of American Angoras which in the Ascent of the Cat study was identified as being closely related to Tunisian cats whereas in fact both of these populations are of European origin. UC Davis start with a muddle, they end with a bigger muddle. So now they say that Tunisian cats are Turkish.

    • Thanks a lot, Harvey. You are the expert on this subject so I am pleased you want to add to it. I might see if I can include your comment in the article or at least part of it.

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