Man’s New Best Friend

Dan General, Sheep-Goats

Girls and GoatsMove over Rover – how another four-legged creature may soon be taking over as man’s best friend. Cathy Isom has that story coming up on This Land of Ours.

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From: Modern Farmer

We Knew It: Goats are Just as Clever and Cute as Dogs

We feel comfortable saying that a team of researchers from Queen Mary University of London has one of the best jobs in all of science. Over the past few years, this team has worked tirelessly to prove what we’ve known for years: that goats are extremely good's best friend

Back in 2014, this same team published a study showing that goats are not only capable of solving a pretty complex puzzle originally designed for primates—they can also remember the solution a year later. (The puzzle involved pulling a handle and lifting a lever in order to snag some food.)

New research, published in the journal Biology Letters, is simpler, but might actually open up a host of new possibilities. The research placed a box with food in it in front of an array of goats, with a researcher standing quietly nearby. After teaching the goats to open the box and retrieve the food, which the goats successfully did a few times, the sneaky researchers secretly locked the box, making it impossible for the goat to open.

Read more.

Here’s a video of the goats and researchers in action. “Come on guys, help me get the food out!” is what we’re pretty sure these goats are thinking.

Video from: Queen Mary University of London

Brown goat in the pen
Goats have the capacity to communicate with people like other domesticated animals, such as dogs and horses, according to scientists from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

The footage here shows the team from QMUL’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences training goats to remove a lid from a box to receive a reward. In the final test, they make the reward inaccessible and recorded the goat’s reaction towards the experimenters, who were either facing the goats or had their backs to them. The scientists found that the goats redirected their gaze frequently between the inaccessible reward and human experimenters. They also gazed towards a forward facing person earlier, more often and for longer compared to when the person was facing away.

Read more about the research from the Queen Mary University of London.