The Domestication (驯化) of Cats
For centuries, the common view of how domestication had occurred was that prehistoric people, realizing how useful it would be to have animals kept for food, began catching wild animals and breeding (繁殖) them. Over time, by allowing only animals with “tame”（驯养） characteristics to produce their babies, human beings created animals that were less wild and more dependent upon people. Eventually this process led to the domestic farm animals and pets that we know today, having lost their ancient survival skills and natural abilities.
Recent research suggests that this view of domestication is incomplete. Prehistoric human beings did catch and breed useful wild animals, but specialists in animal behavior now think that domestication was not simply something people did to animals—the animals played an active part in the process. Wolves and wild horses, for example, may have taken the first steps in their own domestication by hanging around human settlements, feeding on people’s crops and getting used to human activity. The animals which were not too nervous or fearful to live near people produced their babies that also tolerated humans, making it easier for people to catch and breed them.
In this version, people succeeded in domesticating only animals that had already adapted easily to life around humans. Domestication required an animal that was willing to become domestic. The process was more like a dance with partners than a victory of humans over animals.
At first glance, the taming of cats seems to fit nicely into this new story of domestication. A traditional theory says that after prehistoric people in Egypt invented agriculture and started farming, rats and mice gathered to feast on their stored grain. Wildcats, in turn, gathered at the same places to hunt and eat the rats and mice. Over time, cats got used to people and people got used to cats. Some studies of wildcats, however, seem to call this theory into question. Wildcats don’t share hunting and feeding areas, and they don’t live close to people. Experts do not know whether wildcats were partners in their own domestication. They do know that long after people had acquired domestic dogs, sheep and horses, they somehow acquired domestic cats. Gradually they produced animals with increasingly tame qualities.
43. What is suggested in recent research?
A. Animals were less afraid than thought.
B. Animals had an active role in their domestication.
C. Wolves and horses were the first to be domesticated.
D. Domestication meant something people did to animals.
44. The word “dance” is used in Paragraph 3 to show that ______.
A. animals and humans were close B. control over animals was easy
C. animals were independent of humans D. domestication was like a game
45. What probably attracted cats to human settlements?
A. Other cats. B. Warmth. C. Humans. D. Food.
46. What causes a problem for the theory that cats were domesticated like wolves were?
A. Cats were not friendly to people.
B. Cats were not as fierce as wolves.
C. Cats had the characteristic of independence.
D. Cats showed cleverness when they were hunting.