The past, present and future of the world’s most popular and beloved pet, from a leading evolutionary biologist and great cat lover.
The domestic cat — your cat — has, from its evolutionary origins in Africa, been transformed in comparatively little time into one of the most successful and diverse species on the planet. Jonathan Losos, the William H. Danforth Distinguished University Professor, professor of biology in Arts & Sciences and director of the Living Earth Collaborative at Washington University in St. Louis, writing as both a scientist and a cat lover, explores how researchers today are unraveling the secrets of the cat, past and present, using all the tools of modern technology, from GPS tracking (you’d be amazed where those backyard cats roam) and genomics (what is your so-called Siamese cat . . . really?) to forensic archaeology. In addition to solving the mysteries of your cat’s past, it gives us a cat’s-eye view of today’s habitats, including meeting wild cousins around the world whose habits your sweet house cat sometimes eerily parallels.