April 23, 2024

Cats and their ancestors – forschung.de


As pets and stars of countless Internet videos, cats are everywhere. It is surprising in this regard that scientific research related to cats is still in its infancy. In this book, Jonathan B. Losos provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of the discipline which he calls “ailurology.” His statements are reflected in the fact that the American, an evolutionary biologist specializing in lizards, has been a cat lover since early childhood. He devotes himself to the subject with a lot of curiosity and enthusiasm and always sprinkles in amusing anecdotes about his cat, Nelson.

The book's relaxed tone does not come at the expense of its scholarly standards. Especially when it comes to the evolution from the North African wild cat to the tamed “domestic cat” or the general basics of genetics in breeding purebred cats, Losos is completely in his element. Elsewhere it takes the perspective of the interested observer and points out previous blind spots in the research or encourages further reflection. It is currently not clear why cats meow. Raising a “bird-friendly” house cat without a strong hunting instinct would also be welcome. It is unlikely that exciting topics in nephrology will run out of steam so quickly. Christopher Walter

Jonathan B. Losos
From savannah to sofa
Evolutionary history of cats
Hanser, 384 pages, 26 euros, –
ISBN 978-3-446-27763-2