Hidden in primitive boats and ships, mice arrived in Cyprus with people from Mesopotamia about 10.000 years ago, according to scientific research. Then, after landing on the island for good, the house mice (mus musculus) crossed from Cyprus to mainland Europe 6.500 years ago.
In fact, the most scientifically known presence of cats on our island, as well as in Europe, is associated with the presence of mice, since the appearance of cats in our area followed the presence of mice. Mice were also a major cause of human domestication of cats, and in particular the African wildcat, precisely to protect themselves from the damage caused by mice. For their part, these first cats, said to have "domesticated themselves", approached human settlements due to mice, separated from wildcats and evolved in a way that facilitated their coexistence with humans in the species they are today.
The transfer of domestic mice to Cyprus is found to have taken place 10.800 years ago, while in mainland Europe the first mice arrived just 6.500 years ago. The most interesting and revealing, not only in relation to mice but also for the evolution of our island 10 millennia ago, are included for the first time in an extensive scientific research published a few days ago in the world-famous "www.nature.com/scientificreports" and republished in international scientific publications.
The study, conducted by a large team of distinguished scientists, was based on scientific analyzes of mouse fossils and other data in 48 countries in the Middle East and Europe. There are many and detailed reports in relation to the findings concerning Cyprus. In relation to cats, it is estimated that they followed the "path of mice" and became acquainted with humans in our area 8.500 years ago.
The introduction of the cat to Cyprus, according to this study, took place during the period of agricultural growth in the pre-ceramic Neolithic period. "The introduction of the cat to the island is believed to be linked to controlling the proliferation of house mice that existed on the island at the time," it said.
Another important finding of the researchers for Cyprus is that while for the last 12.000 years on our island, the research on the effects on the diversity of the vertebrates of Cyprus from the human presence, shows the genetic alteration in all its forms, the exception is the endemic Cypriot mouse (mus cypriacus) that still exists today.
It prospered with the development of agriculture
In Cyprus, the oldest mouse fossils analyzed by scientists were found in the area of Aetokremnos in Akrotiri, where according to DNA analysis it was the "Cypriot mouse" (mus cypriacus), as well as in Cape Pyla, while the immediately following age fossils refer to a mouse mole fossil, which was found as mentioned in the village of "Klimonas" and dates back to 10.600 years ago (Amathus area), where another 41 mouse remains were found in a fossilized state.
These data show that with the first farmers to cultivate the land, domestic mice also appeared. This, as mentioned in the research, is proved by the first presence of mice of this species in the area of Kissonerga (Milouthkia area), which followed the settlement of the area 8.000 years ago. Similar findings are made for other areas of Cyprus, such as Hoirokoitia and the cape Andreas - Kastro, in the area of Kyrenia.
Scientific research in Cyprus, the greater Levantine and Anatolia, "suggests that the emergence of the agricultural system was the main driving force in the common course of the house mouse." As explained, the cultivation of wild cereal plants is also related to the appearance of the first settlement with communal buildings and the storage of cereals, the greater human dependence on cereals, which obviously favored the concentration and proliferation of domestic mice.