Study confirms that the brain of cats has shrunk dramatically since domestication
29 ene 2022 03:52 GMT
Researchers have suggested that the process of domesticating these felines began about 10,000 years ago.
Scientists from the University of Vienna (Austria) and the National Museum of Scotland (UK) were able to confirm that the volume of brain of cats greatly reduced During the past ten thousand years, the domestication of these felines was the main cause of the loss of cranial capacity.
as the details Researchers, studies by Paul Schauenberg in 1969 and Helmut Hammer in 1972 have actually linked domestication of cats with reduced brain volume. However, the data used at that time was OutdatedSo they took it upon themselves to assess whether the results obtained decades ago are still valid in light of current scientific knowledge.
To do this, the researchers compared the cranial capacity, an indicator of brain size, of modern domestic cats (‘Felis catus’) with European wildcats (‘Felis silvestris’) and North African wildcats (‘Felis lybica’), the latter considered their direct ancestors. They also compared the same measurements between wild and domestic crossed cats.
After analyzing the results published This Wednesday at Royal Society Open Science, the authors showed that domestic cats suffered from shorthand of the capacity of the skull compared to the types of its ancestors. Similarly, they verified that the brain of the hybrids is smaller in relation to the brain of the parent species, confirming what was suggested in previous research.
Based on their findings, the experts raised the possibility of decreased production of cells in the brain region associated with arousal and fear, known as the neural crest, in animals as part of a process of natural selection. As a result of interaction with humans. This phenomenon, they estimated, could modulate cats’ stress response, brain size and general body morphology.
“We should always be aware that we are comparing an existing, or modern, group of wild animals to the domesticated form, and not to the true ancestral groups, since we rarely have access to the ancient populations that produced our domestic animals,” the academics said. . “Although ancient DNA may partially alleviate this problem for genetic comparisons,” they added.
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