Pest-control agent, object and symbol of value in past civilizations, companion animal, and iconic celebrity of the web in the modern society, the domestic cat has an intricate bond with humans. Their relationship started more than 10 thousand years ago, yet the biological and cultural trajectories behind the evolution of cat-human interactions across time are unknown. The EU-funded project FELIX will analyze over 800 archaeological samples of cats dating back 10,000 years until the 18th and 19th centuries from archaeological sites in Europe, the Near and Middle East, and North Africa to gain insights into the cat-human relationship. By reconstructing the genomes and the dietary habits of ancient cats, the objective of FELIX is to reconstruct the unique biological and ecological features that shaped cat domestication, and the dispersal of domestic cats across the globe.

The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant agreement n°101002811

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