The renowned mantra is in fact that dogs are man’s best friend, but new research conducted by Queen Mary University of London, might give the family pet a run for their money.
The researchers hailing from the Biological and Chemical Science Department found that indeed goats have similar responses to dog, horses and even human toddlers.
The research was conducted on the grounds of Animal Welfare and published in Biology Letters.
This discovery didn’t come without an investigation, backed by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and Sanctuary ‘The Someone Project’ , involving a group of scientists and over thirty goats at Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats in Kent.
For the purpose of the experiment, the goats were penned in a test unit, with a plastic box lid attached to a wooden board and placed in the middle of the pen.
Food was placed in the box as the researcher located themselves nearby.
The goats were taught how to open the box with the food contents, but to take it up a notch, creating a challenge for the four-legged animals, the team later locked the box.
To the amazement of the research team, the results that followed were pretty startling.
The goats gazed at the researcher once they discovered it was impossible to gain access to the contents of the box.
Goats in turn display human-directed visual orientating behaviour. The test found that their behaviour changes depending on their body and head orientation.
They look on at their owners the same way, when they delve into a problem-solving task.
This insists that goats are indeed as loving and clever as dogs!
Goats and their owners have a unique bond, allowing them to exchange information.
Stating in a Press Release, First author Dr Christian Nawroth, said: 'Goats gaze at humans in the same way as dogs do when asking for a treat that is out of reach, for example. Our results provide strong evidence for complex communication directed at humans in a species that was domesticated primarily for agricultural production, and show similarities with animals bred to become pets or working animals, such as dogs and horses.'
The research concluded with the statement ‘This challenges the view that a specific kind of domestication, i.e. the selection for companionship, has led to the development of complex communication with humans in domestic animals.’
It’s has been found that goats were indeed the first livestock species to be domesticated, over 10,000 years ago.
If you don’t believe us, take a look at this video produced by the University.