Vikings, cats and mice

Following on from my post on Vikings and cats I remembered a post of mine from 2008 about a genetic analysis of mice in the UK which showed that mice from Scotland Ireland and Wales have a more Scandanavian genome than those in the UK.

The hypothesis is that that in these areas it not until Viking times that grain farming was large scale enough to support a large mouse population that crowded out any earlier populations of mice.

The hypothesis is of course that the mice came with Viking settlers, who were perhaps more expert at farming grain in wet marginal climates than the more pastorally focused Pictish, Irish and Welsh populations.

If that was the case we would expect to see cats not far behind, and if the Viking settlers were expert grain farmers there’s a reasonable expectation that they would have brought cats with them – not as pets but as animal that were just around to do useful things.

Getting cats to travel in a knorr or a longboat might have been interesting though.

It would be possible to test this by doing a genetic analysis of the cat populations of Iceland and the Faeroes, where the Vikings were the first settlers to farm on any large scale …

Written with StackEdit.

Advertisements

About dgm

IT professional, ex research psychologist, blogger, twitterer, and amateur classical and medieval historian ...
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Vikings, cats and mice

  1. Pingback: Vikings and cats (agai | stuff 'n other stuff

  2. Pingback: Vikings and Cats (again) | stuff 'n other stuff

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s