NEWS AND COMMENT: A Karachi farmer, Muhammad Hassan Narejo, claims that his goat, Simba, has the world’s longest ears at 46 cm (18.11 inches) each ear. This is an informal world record to the best of my knowledge because Guinness World Records does not, it seems, list this record. They list the longest ears on a living dog which measure 34 cm. Fortunately, I have a video of Simba from TikTok which I think is better than a still photograph because you can get a real sense of the length of these years when they lollop around. I believe that the video was made by Muhammad and rightly so because his goat’s ears are amazing.
The obvious question that I have is why? Why does this goat have such abnormally long ears? Normally when an animal develops a piece of interesting or unusual anatomy it is because it aids in their survival. This may have occurred over many generations as ears act as coolants for goats. The blood vessels are near the surface because the skin and fur are thin on the ear flaps. This allows dissipation of heat carried through blood vessels to the exterior of the animal via the ear flaps. It must work in the same way that panting in dogs and cats works.
Perhaps the goats in Karachi are getting longer as global warming takes its toll. Hotter summers may result in a gradual increase in the demand for goats to keep cool.
Selective breeding a factor?
The extra-long ears may be a result of informal selective breeding by the farmer over perhaps generations. In fact, he may have done this deliberately in order to create a goat with the longest ears.
What he would have done, if he did, is to select parents with unusually long ears and make sure that they mate and then you mate one of the offspring with a parent and you might do it again and again so the animal is highly inbred but the genetic trait which produced the long ears becomes magnified. I am speculating. Certainly, this species of goat must have unusual long ears even if they are not the longest.
They are so long that they trail along the ground which can’t be useful. There must be a slight risk of injury.