They may seem an unusual candidate for the title of man’s best friend, but scientists have suggested that goats could rival dogs in forming an emotional bond with their owners.
After years of staring at goats, this is our amazing conclusion.
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London aim to prove that goats are much cleverer than previously thought and interact with people in a similar way to pets, having trodden a path of domestication for 10,000 years.
Well, it was that or try to cure cancer. We stand by our selection.
Their latest experiment, documented in Biological Letters, showed that goats will gaze imploringly at their owners when they are struggling to complete a task, a trait common in dogs but not wolves, for example, who have never learned how to co-exist with humans.
I think I'd rather hang out with the team of scientists that studies wolves, primarily by engaging in the last good fight against them.
The team has also demonstrated that goats can work out how to break into a sealed box using levers, a task used to gauge intelligence in apes.
We tried this task on college students, but after an hour the box was still unopened and everyone was crying and begging for a safe space and for the government to come and open it for them. Better stick with apes and goats for this one.
“Goats gaze at humans in the same way as dogs do when asking for a treat that is out of reach,” said Dr Christian Nawroth, one of the study’s authors.
I spent countless hours exchanging loving gazes with cloven hoofed animals. Science!
In many countries, including Italy, and Germany the phrase “as stupid as a goat” is used as an insult.
In fairness the more correct translation of the German phrase is "As inefficient and lacking in will as a can-eating swine dog with horns."
“We know that in some areas goats are as intelligent as dogs, but there has been a lot more work done on dog behaviour and we are really just scratching the surface with goats.”
It's more likely to eat your slippers than fetch them, but it knows what it's doing.
“If we can show that they are more intelligent, then hopefully we can bring in better guidelines for their care,” Dr McElligott said.
Why are all fudging scientists liars?
The big brains of the animal kingdom.
In the most recent experiment the team trained goats to remove a lid from a box to receive a reward. In the final test they made the box impossible to open and recorded the goat’s reaction.
Someone is getting paid to mess with goats. Let this sink in for awhile.
The bemused goats turned towards their owners in a pleading manner, clearly asking for help in getting to the treat.
"I thought we were friends, baaaaa."