Scientists have discovered that goats, too, can make great pets and may even rival dogs for the title of “man’s best friend.”
A recent study by Queen Mary University of London researchers revealed that the goat, mainly domesticated for agricultural purposes, also possesses the ability to form an emotional bond with its owner, according to the Telegraph.
In an experiment documented in Biological Letters, the goats were observed to gaze at their owners emotionally when they are seeking help or assistance. Such a trait, which is not usually seen in other animals who never co-existed with humans, is also commonly found in dogs.
To prove that goats are smarter than the common perception, the research team conducted tests similarly used to gauge intelligence in apes. In a series of tests, the goats displayed an ability to cleverly figure out how to break into a sealed box by using levers.
In the first trial, the goats were trained to remove a lid from a box by giving them rewards. In the last test, the box was made impossible to open and the goat’s reaction revealed a striking resemblance to how dogs usually react. The goats turned to their owners in a pleading gaze, asking for help in getting to the treat.
The goats were also observed to gaze for longer when the person looked back and returned the gaze, compared to when the person looked the other way.
More impressively, the test subjects even retained the skill and were able to perform the task, without repeating prompts, four years later.
“Goats gaze at humans in the same way as dogs do when asking for a treat that is out of reach,” said study co-author Dr Christian Nawroth. read more…