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The earliest domestic cat on the Silk Road

By A. F. Haruda, A. R. V. Miller, J. L. A. Paijmans, A. Barlow, A. Tazhekeyev, S. Bilalov, Y. Hesse, M. Preick, T. King, R. Thomas, H. Harke, I. Arzhantseva

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We present the earliest evidence for domestic cat (Felis catus L., 1758) from Kazakhstan, found as a well preserved skeleton with extensive osteological pathologies dating to 775–940 cal CE from the early medieval city of Dzhankent, Kazakhstan. This urban settlement was located on the intersection of the northern Silk Road route which linked the cities of Khorezm in the south to the trading settlements in the Volga region to the north and was known in the tenth century CE as the capital of the nomad Oghuz. The presence of this domestic cat, presented here as an osteobiography using a combination of zooarchaeological, genetic, and isotopic data, provides proxy evidence for a fundamental shift in the nature of human-animal relationships within a previously pastoral region. This illustrates the broader social, cultural, and economic changes occurring within the context of rapid urbanisation during the early medieval period along the Silk Road.

Date 2020
Publication Title Scientific Reports
Volume 10
Issue 7
Pages 12
DOI 10.1038/s41598-020-67798-6
Language English
Author Address Central Natural Science Collections, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Domplatz 4, 06108, Halle (Saale), Germany.ashleigh.haruda@zns.uni
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animals
  2. APEC countries
  3. Archaeology
  4. Asia
  5. Carnivores
  6. Cats
  7. Cities and towns
  8. Developed countries
  9. Domestic animals
  10. History
  11. Kazakhstan
  12. Mammals
  13. open access
  14. Paleontology
  15. Pets and companion animals
  16. Russia
  17. skeleton
  18. urban areas
  19. urbanization
  20. vertebrates
  1. open access