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Man’s best friends:origins of domesticated animals

Scientists recently discovered that humans began domesticating horses around 3500 B.C., several thousand years earlier than previously believed.


But the first wild animals to be domesticated were, not surprisingly, dogs.


Distinguished from wolves by their smaller jaw and teeth, they may have appeared anywhere from 13,000 to 30,000 years ago.


Domestication of cats probably began with the rise of agriculture, when people started storing grain. Grain attracted rats, which were followed closely by cats hunting them. A grave in Cyprus, excavated in 2004, found the remains of a cat laid close to a human skeleton, suggesting an affectionate relationship. The grave was estimated to be about 9,500 years old.

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