Goat’s Intelligence Was Underestimated

common goat

When we talk about intelligence in the animal kingdom, animals like chimpanzees, dolphins or crows are the first one to come across our minds. But it’s time to get over them, because as per the latest research, common goats are way more intelligent than formerly believed. 

The researchers from Queen Mary University of London discovered the extraordinary ability of the goats to learn methods of solving tough tasks. Surprisingly, the goats could even recall the solution of these tasks and could again perform them even after a gap of 10 months. May be this remarkable ability of the goat helps them to adapt and survive in some of the extremely unfavorable environments present on the Earth.

Assisted by a Swiss Federal Veterinary Office grant and Swiss National Science Foundation fellowship, the research included training few goats to procure food from a box by following a particular set of steps as pulling the lever using their mouths and followed by lifting the lever to unveil the yummy reward. Once the goat learned the sequence, they were again tested for their ability to recall the solution, once after a month and later at a gap of 10 months. The study findings showed that it took just 12 trails for the goat to remember the sequence and less than two minutes to recall the sequence of steps.

Steps showing how the goats procure food from a box by following a particular set of steps as pulling the lever using their mouths and followed by lifting the lever to unveil the yummy reward

Co-author Dr Elodie Briefer says that rate at which the goats accomplished the task at 10 months contrast to the time taken to memorize them, clearly signifies the long term memory of goats.

Prior to each training session, certain goats even had the opportunity to observe another goat, performing the same task. But the study suggests that the goat that did not have the chance to watch the demonstration were equally good and fast learner as those who watched the demonstration. This indicates that the goats like to learn by performing the task themselves, instead of watching the tasks being performed by others.

The research is first of its kind that tested the goat’s abilities to learn and solve complicated tasks. And this unique ability gives an edge to goats to comfortably find food in the wild and to adapt even in harsh environments and quickly colonize new habitats. Clearly, the study subsides the misconception that the common goats are not intelligent.

About Neha Shukla

Hi, my name is Neha Shukla, I'm blogger and a freelance writer based in Noida, India. I am travel freak and enjoy good food and watching movies. And yes, I love animals too. You can find me on Google+ & LinkedIn