SO 2.1 – Recording dietary chemical signatures during cat dispersal.
FELIX will record carbon and nitrogen isotopic signatures in wild and domestic cats from West Eurasia, as well as potential preys and other animals from the same faunal assemblages in order to:
1) track changes in the isotopic signatures related to farming activities and terrestrial resources to uncover whether dietary habits of cats interacting (and spreading) with human farming communities changed during the Neolithic.
2) investigate whether dietary shifts in cats occurred in the Classical-Roman era, with an increased focus on potential adaptation to aquatic resources associated with dispersals across sea-routes.
SO 2.2 – Oral microbiome and dietary shifts in domestic cats across time.
FELIX will gain novel insights into diet and lifestyle of cats by using dental calculus as analytical tool in order to:
1) reconstruct the oral microbiome of ancient cats by means of shotgun metagenomics, informing on potential dietary shifts (cereal-based vs meat-based food).
2) conduct microfossil analysis on dental calculus samples to gain a deeper analytical resolution, with particular regard to tracking possible consumption of starch-rich food sources.