A scientist is always at work posing questions and finding out why? Most recently an archaeozoologist, Wim Van Neer set out to find the origins of domesticating cats.
From artifacts, they knew that Egyptians valued cats and even shared their homes with the animals, but were they the first to domesticate the feline? A much older cat was found in a tomb in Cyprus. Is this the ancestor of our modern housecat?
The genetic tests show our housecats can be traced back to the Near Eastern Wildcat. The Egyptian cat mummies have a different subtype and so the research continues for this team. Even with some questions answered, there is always more to discover.
Author Scotti Cohn shares her home with a kitty or two. Before writing her book, Big Cat, Little Kitty, Scotti’s questions lead her down a different path. She researched the behavioral similarities of domestic and wild cats.
“Animal behavior is fascinating to me, whether we’re talking about pet cats and dogs or wild animals around the globe,” says Scotti. “I think my interest in animal behavior comes across in all of my Arbordale picture books. Why do wolves howl? How does a domestic cat’s behavior mimic that of a lion or tiger? What prompts animals to migrate? Why do animals form “partnerships”? I like being able to respond to those questions in a way that makes children eager to learn more.”
We know sometimes science seems overwhelming to kids and parents, but really asking questions and finding answers is fun! Summer is a great time to hone research skills, and test theories without the pressure that sometimes comes with school assignments.
Here are some tips:
Write it down: Start a science journal filled with questions just waiting to be answered
Research: Head to the library or a museum and find tools that help to fine tune your questions
Experiment: Set up simple experiments or observations to help come to a conclusion
Begin Again: What did you find out? Are there new questions waiting to be answered?
Want to read about the origins of your kitty, learn more about the domestic cat study here.