Animals that are adapted to life with humans thrive. Many dogs and cats who live with well-off owners get more attention and medical care than poor people. Even animals that humans consider pests prosper. The house mouse, whose species name is Mus musculus, is more widespread around the world than any other type of rodent.
Archeologists and biologists from eight countries on four continents recently published a study tracking the history of the house mouse. They followed how human activities have helped the animal spread over the last 20,000 years, from the Middle East to Europe 4,000 years ago. They note that the spread of mice to Europe coincided with the introduction of widespread pet cats, with cats suddenly becoming useful.
- News release: How the mouse conquered the house
- Research paper: Tracking the Near Eastern origins and European dispersal of the western house mouse
Image of Mus musculus by George Shulkin.