Mice entered human settlements far earlier than formerly thought: study

Mice entered human settlements far earlier than formerly thought: study

A new study has suggested that the common house mouse first entered human settlements far earlier than formerly thought but the despised pest had to fight a rival species.

For decades, researchers assumed that mice first came into contact with humans after they started cultivating and storing crops. However, the new study suggested that wild mice started entering human habitats from the very moment when they started to settle down and construct permanent structures.

A team of researchers from the Washington University in St. Louis and Israel’s University of Haifa found evidence suggesting that mice started entering human settlements as far back as 15,000 years ago in the Levant region.

The estimated time of mice’s entry into human settlements is 3,000 years before the introduction of agriculture.

That development attracted at least two species of wild mice, triggering a battle that lasted for centuries, and eventually Mus musculus domesticus (the mouse we identify today as the house mouse) outcompeted its rival, dubbed Mus macedonicus.

The new study was detailed in the most recent edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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