12 Stories

Russians Secretly Domesticated Foxes in Just 50 Years

No one thought it could be done with this most-untamable creature

(Newser) - For more than 50 years, scientists have been gathering foxes from the Russian wilderness and breeding them, picking the most human-friendly to mate to domesticate the supposedly untamable animals, much as dogs once were, reports. And it looks like the project the BBC says was started by Dmitry... More »

Scientists Figure Out Origin of Man's Best Friend

Doggy DNA traces origins to Central Asia 15K years ago

(Newser) - Your best pal may have come a long way to curl up at your feet: A new DNA study of more than 5,000 dogs from 38 countries finds they probably originated in Central Asia, or Mongolia and Nepal more specifically, at least 15,000 years ago, reports the BBC... More »

Your Cat Is Pretty Much a Wild Animal

Genetically speaking, at least

(Newser) - If your cuddly feline appears to think he's a vicious wildcat—well, he's actually got it almost right. A study finds that genetically, our house cats aren't very different from their wild cousins, despite thousands of years of domestication, Time reports. "We believe we have created... More »

Man's History With Cats Even Older Than Thought

New findings in Egypt age our relationship

(Newser) - Humans have been in a relationship with cats for far longer than previously known—some 5,700 years in fact, according to new research that predates the oldest feline finds in China . Most evidence has pointed to cat domestication in Egypt circa 1950 BC, but excavations at an ancient Egyptian... More »

Cats Were Farmers' Friends 5K Years Ago

Ancient bones shed light on domestication timeline

(Newser) - Ancient bones unearthed in China have shed new light on how humans came to tame cats—though some cat owners would describe the relationship as being the other way around. Analysis of the cat bones found in a millet-farming village suggest that cats were living alongside humans 5,300 years... More »

Pets Helped Humans Evolve

Interspecies connection is 'very deep and very old'

(Newser) - The connection between humans and domesticated animals goes back millions of years and may have helped humans develop tools and even language, researchers say. The interspecies connection—nearly unique to humans and their pets and livestock—"connects the other big evolutionary leaps, including stone tools, language and domestication,"... More »

Were Dogs Domesticated as Dinner?

A look into the origins of the human-canine connection

(Newser) - Today, they’re man’s best friend, but dogs may have originally come to humans as their best bet for dinner. Researchers in Sweden examined the DNA of dogs around the world and found that they all seemed to be of the same lineage, pointing to “a single domestication... More »

Researchers Hope Canine Brain Holds Clues to Ours

(Newser) - At Harvard and labs across the country, researchers are turning to dogs for clues on how their brains—and ours—work, the Boston Globe reports. “Psychologists have been ignoring animals that were sleeping quietly at their feet,” one professor said, but no longer. Dogs understand pointing better than... More »

Horses Tamed Earlier Than We Thought

(Newser) - Horses were domesticated 1,000 years earlier than thought, a finding that could prompt a rethinking of ancient human history, the BBC reports. A team from Exeter University found evidence of the use of harness bits on teeth—as well as horse meat and horse milk beverages—in Kazakhstan that... More »

Disney's New 'Tomorrowland' House as Bland as Leftovers

'Furiously unimaginative' update reflects down period in our culture: O'Rourke

(Newser) - In the 1950s, Disneyland wowed visitors and architecture aficionados with its dynamic vision of domesticity in its House of the Future, but, as PJ O’Rourke laments in the Atlantic, Disney’s latest house is “almost furiously unimaginative.” A peek at Disney’s domestic vision finds a future... More »

The Cat Did Not Walk by Himself

(Newser) - Unlike most animals who were domesticated by man, cats, you cat owners will not be surprised to learn, domesticated themselves.  A study published in Science concludes that some 12,000 years ago cats, attracted by mice, who were themselves attracted by grain which man had just figured out how... More »

House Cat Hisstory Traced to 5 Mideast Matriarchs

Felines chose domestic life 10,000 years ago

(Newser) - The origin of 600 million house cats has been traced to five matriarchal lines in the Mideast, where the first wildcats moved close to families some 10,000 years ago and earned their keep eating vermin,  the New York Times reports. House cats share striking DNA similarities with wildcats... More »

12 Stories