Categories: Intelligence

Goats are smarter than we realise

Wise goat – picture: YouTube.

This is another study which points to a general human ignorance about the intelligence of animals and their ability to feel emotions. Humans are gradually learning and losing some of their arrogance but it is a long road. The goat was one of the first livestock species to be domesticated around 10,000 years ago. Farming started around 12,000 years ago. The African-Asian wildcat was first domesticated around 14,500 it is believed (although I doubt this).

We already know that goats are smarter than their reputation suggests, but these results show how they can perceive cues and interact with humans even though they are were not domesticated as pets or working animals.

Alan McElliigott if the University of Roehampton

Alan is being generous. A lot of people don’t realise that goats have a level of intelligence beyond that which is perceived by many.

The study took place at Butercups Sanctuary in Boughton Monchelsea, Kent, England and is published in Frontiers in Psychology. Nine goats participated. They were able to pick out a bucket containing raw pasta with hand gestures even though the reward bucket was changed in some tests to ensure that the goats understood the gestures. The hand gestures were also mixed to make it harder.

The research has implications on how people interact with farm animals. I believe it also has implications on how we interact with animals generally. The developing countries need to up their game on animal welfare. There is still a huge amount of livestock cruelty and animal cruelty in general through ignorance and an inability to have empathy with animals. This sort of research helps to achieve improved animal welfare.

Other research tells us that goats are as smart as dogs and just as capable to create a loving bond with humans.


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