The mouse took advantage of humans to spread around the world - The Comprehensive Minds

The mouse took advantage of humans to spread around the world

The mouse took advantage of humans to spread around the world

Source: National Geographic



The gray mouse took advantage of the sedentarization of the first human population, 15,000 years ago, to spread around the world.

The gray mouse, one of the most invasive mammalian species, according to a study, shows a concordance between its expansion and the first domestic cats.


AFP.- The history of the biological invasion of "Mus musculus", commonly called the gray or domestic mouse, began in the Middle East, explained an international team made up of members from eight countries in the Scientific Reports magazine.


In the study, more than 800 skeletal remains of the small rodent were analyzed. All were from 43 archaeological sites in the Middle East and southeastern Europe, from Iran to Greece, between 40,000 and 3,000 years old.

With them, morphometric (which allow reproducing the shape), genetic and radiocarbon dating analyzes were carried out.


The analyzes show the presence of the gray mouse with man since the first sedentary human occupations, about 15,000 years ago.

Since they created a "favorable environment" for this species of rodent, which is currently the most invasive, ahead of the rat, archaeologist Thomas Cucchi, who led the study, explained to AFP.

This type of mouse always lives close to man.



The birth of agriculture, the transformation of the environment into cultivated fields, and the increase in the size and density of villages made it possible for the mouse to "spread rapidly throughout the Levant, from the West Bank to Anatolia", about 12,000 years ago, pointed out the researcher at the Museum of Natural History in Paris.


"Our results show that sedentary lifestyle allowed commensalism," that is, a biological interaction in which a species lives at the expense of a host species, he said.


"In the midst of the first sedentary human habitats, the mouse found many advantages over its natural environment, such as a constant supply of food and protection against predators and competitors," said the researcher.


Since their works seek to "understand how man-shaped animal biodiversity".

But the mouse did not become an invasive species until the rise of agriculture, as small mammals even followed the man to the island of Cyprus, aboard ships, as "stowaways" 10,000 years ago.



It took 5,000 more years for the species to invade Europe. Its expansion with Europe also coincides with the appearance of the first domestic cats. This according to the remains found in formerly inhabited sites in Cyprus, Greece, and in eastern Europe.


It was this expansion that would have encouraged the domestication of cats, whose origin is not exactly known. “The wild ancestor of the domestic cat would have been attracted to our environment by the mouse. So, from that moment on, the man realized the importance of the predator to protect his grain reserves ”, suggested Cucchi.

In this video we introduce you to a peculiar mouse:

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