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Research on a human-cat link on ancient Silk Road

In some news for cat lovers, new analyses done on an almost-complete cat skeleton found during an excavation

human-cat link

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  11 July 2020 10:43 AM GMT

In some news for cat lovers, new analyses done on an almost-complete cat skeleton found during an excavation along the former Silk Road in southern Kazakhstan indicates that common domestic cats, as we know them today, might have accompanied Kazakh pastoralists as pets more than 1,000 years ago.

An international research team led by Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), Korkyt-Ata Kyzylorda State University in Kazakhstan, the University of Tubingen and the Higher School of Economics in Russia has reconstructed the cat's life, revealing astonishing insights into the relationship between humans and pets at the time, the study said.

The tomcat - which was examined by a team led by Dr Ashleigh Haruda from the Central Natural Science Collections at MLU - did not have an easy life. "The cat suffered several broken bones during its lifetime," says Haruda. And yet, based on a very conservative estimate, the animal had most likely made it past its first year of life. For Haruda and her colleagues, this is a clear indication that people had taken care of this cat.

During a research stay in Kazakhstan, the scientist examined the findings of an excavation in Dzhankent, an early medieval settlement in the south of the country which had been mainly populated by the Oghuz, a pastoralist Turkic tribe. The settlement was located along the Silk Road, an ancient network of important caravan routes that connected Central and East Asia with the Mediterranean region by land. There she discovered a very well-preserved skeleton of a cat. (IANS)

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