The African wildcat (Felis lybica) is a small wildcat species native to Africa, West and Central Asia up to Rajasthan in India and Xinjiang in China. The IUCN Red List status Least Concern is attributed to the species Felis silvestris, which at the time of assessment also included the African wildcat as a subspecies.In Cyprus, an African wildcat was found in a burial site next to a human skeleton in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B settlement Shillourokambos. The graves are estimated to have been established by Neolithic farmers about 9,500 years ago, and are the earliest known evidence for a close association between a cat and a human. Their proximity indicates that the cat may have been tamed or domesticated. Results of genetic research indicate that the African wildcat genetically diverged into three clades about 173,000 years ago, namely the Near Eastern wildcat, Southern African wildcat and Asiatic wildcat. African wildcats were first domesticated about 10,000 years ago in the Near East, and are the ancestors of the domestic cat (F. catus).Crossings between domestic cats and African wildcats are still common today.
Also known as
This breed is also called African Wild Cat, African Wildcat, Caffer Cat, Caffre Cat, Desert Cat / African Wildcat, Egyptian Wildcat, Felis Libyca, Felis Silvestris Libyca, Felis Silvestris Lybica as well as Kaffir Cat.
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