A new study outlines how cats went from pest-controllers to human companions and found that most cats come from one of two major lineages of felines from the Near East and Egypt.

How they did it: Scientists analyzed ancient and modern DNA from the remains of over 200 cats that lived during the past 9,000 years, including Egyptian cat mummies and modern wildcats from Bulgaria and East Africa.

  • Cat's cradle: Cats began living side-by-side with humans about 9,000 years ago when farmers in the Near East seem to have first tamed their wild ancestors.
  • Biggest contributors to today's domestic cat gene pool: A cat lineage that first appeared in the Near East and then spread into Europe beginning around 4400 BC and another of Egyptian cats that moved throughout the Mediterranean along trade routes and paths of war (potentially to help control rodents on ships) during the first millennium BC. They then mated with local cats - tame or wild.
  • It's not all appearance: The genetic variant responsible for the distinct markings of tabby cats weren't found at a high frequency until after the Middle Ages, suggesting cats were until relatively recently selected for their behavior not their looks.

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The new buyout barons

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Last month I wrote that SPACs are the new IPOs. But I may have understated it, because SPACs are also becoming the new private equity.

By the numbers: Short for "special purpose acquisition company," SPACs have raised $24 billion so far in 2020, with a loaded pipeline of upcoming offerings. U.S. buyout firms raised nearly $102 billion through the end of June — a much larger amount, but not so much larger that the two can't play on the same field.

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Macron visits Beirut promising a "new political pact" for Lebanon

Macron visits the hard-hit Gemmayzeh neighborhood. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron walked through the blast-damaged streets of Beirut on Thursday, swarmed by people chanting for the fall of Lebanon's government and pleading for international aid.

Why it matters: Lebanon is at a breaking point. Its economy was collapsing and its government hardly functioning — all before a massive explosion destroyed swathes of the capital city, including its vital port.

3 hours ago - Sports

The PGA Championship is golf's first major in over a year

Photo: Gary Kellner/PGA of America via Getty Images

The 2020 PGA Championship tees off Thursday at San Francisco's TPC Harding Park, which is hosting its first-ever major.

Why it matters: It's the first major in more than a year — and the first of seven majors in the next 12 months. Though there won't be any fans in attendance, the excitement is palpable.