Which animal was domesticated first – the cat or the dog?

Which animal was domesticated first – the cat or the dog?

Domesticated animals are those that have been tamed and bred by humans. Humans began keeping animals as companion pets (such as cats and dogs), work animals (such as horses, donkeys, and camels to carry things), and livestock (such as cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats for food and skin, fur, or wool). 

It is not easy to tell exactly when different species of animals were domesticated. Domestication occurred gradually, so there is no exact moment in history.

Domestic Cat (left) and Domestic Dog (right)

Scientists and historians study ancient archaeological findings (such as bones and households implements) and ancient paintings and artifacts to find out what happened on Earth and when it happened.

Scientists found rock carvings in Saudi Arabia of a man hunting with 13 dogs. Two of the dogs had leashes. The rock cavings were dated at 8,000 years ago. Genetic studies show that the Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris) was domesticated since 13,000 BCE.

Next was the Domestic Goat (Capra hircus) from 10,000BCE, and the Domestic Pig (Sus domesticus) and Sheep (Ovis aries) from 9,000 BCE. 

Scientists found that the Domestic Cat (Felis catus) was domesticated by humans from 8,000 BCE in ancient Egypt, as well as Cattle (Bos taurus and Bos indicus).

The Domestic Chicken (Gallus gallus) was domesticated from 6,000 BCE.

So, scientists and historians think that the dog was domesticated before the cat.

Photographer: Martina Nicolls

Photograph of cat: healthypawspetinsurance.com


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