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Long before cats became the darlings of Facebook and YouTube, they spread through the ancient human world. A DNA study reached back thousands of years to track that conquest and found evidence of two major dispersals from the Middle East, in which people evidently took cats with them. Researchers analyzed DNA from 209 ancient cats as old as 9,000 years from Europe, Africa and Asia, including some ancient Egyptian cat mummies. Previous study had found a cat buried alongside a human some 9,500 years ago in Cyprus, an island without any native population of felines.Most of the study focused on the ancient dispersals of cats. In the DNA samples analyzed, one genetic signature found first in the Asian portion of Turkey – and perhaps once carried by some Fertile Crescent cats – showed up more than 6,000 years ago in Bulgaria.
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