Goats Are "excellent Listeners", Can Recognize And Respond To The Feelings Of Their Peers

haidut

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
17,430
Location
USA / Europe
Apparently, the expression "dull as a sheep/goat" needs to be revised. According to the study below, goats are not only perfectly capable of distinguishing various emotions in their peers' calls but can also recognize their relatives, empathize with their peers' emotions and even respond to these emotions - i.e. cheer a sad peer up. They are also highly intelligent and in tune with their environment and herders. Maybe medical doctors should hang out with goats more often. I never met a single doctor who even knew what empathy meant, let alone practice it. And don't even get me started on trying to cheer their patients up. As I mentioned in another thread, many cases of depression have started by simply "talking to a doctor" (as the TV ads relentless admonish us to do) about symptoms of treatment options for a specific condition the person may (or may not) have.

Never Underestimate a Goat; It's Not As Stupid As It Looks | Science | Smithsonian
https://www.wideopenpets.com/goats-can-tell-their-friends-in-the-herd-by-the-sounds-they-make/
Goats can distinguish emotions from each other's calls – study

"...They are known for gobbling socks from washing lines and for their fearsome headbutting capabilities but the rich emotional life of goats may have been underestimated. Scientists have found that goats are able to distinguish emotions from each other’s calls and also respond to the feelings of their peers, a phenomenon known as emotional contagion."

“...Despite its evolutionary importance, social communication of emotions in non-human animals is still not well understood,” said Luigi Baciadonna, the lead author of the study from Queen Mary University of London. Baciadonna and colleagues selected goats as a promising candidate for having emotional intelligence as previous research had revealed them to be surprisingly clever and to have complex social lives. One experiment had indicated they could distinguish the calls of goat “friends” from strangers’ calls, raising the question of whether they could also tell how their companions were feeling."

"...They then played these sounds to other animals and recorded their reaction. They found the goats could distinguish between the different types of calls. They also had different physiological responses depending on the emotion they heard. When listening to positive emotions, the goats’ heart rate became more erratic. “They potentially can perceive the emotional content and be affected by the emotions of the calls they hear,” said Livio Favaro. “There might be the first suggestion of emotional contagion through vocalisations.” The findings, published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology, could have implications for the way livestock are housed."

"...Rachel Sparkes, a goat keeper and spokeswoman for the British Goat Society, said the findings were in line with her experience. “I find goats to be much more sensitive to change than other livestock, so it would make sense that they notice emotional changes in the calls from other goats,” she said. “I have found over the years that goats are excellent listeners. They seem able to read human emotions well and if I’m having a bad day the goats will always cheer me up. They know when you’re upset or happy or stressed.”
 

shine

Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2018
Messages
440
I regularly visit a small animal park in the area, I go there because they have goats there and I have often thought about building my own goat farm. Really love goats and always feel amazing around them. Nice to read that they are so conscious of emotions, I always felt like there was some kind of presence/spirit in them, not just dull instinct and reflexes.
 

haidut

Member
Thread starter
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
17,430
Location
USA / Europe
I always felt like there was some kind of presence/spirit in them, not just dull instinct and reflexes.

I don't think there is an animal where only dull instinct and reflexes exist. Even bacteria and viruses are shown to be capable of altruistic behavior, which requires some sort of awareness...or spirit, as you called it.
Viruses Have a Secret, Altruistic Social Life | Quanta Magazine

If this is true about viruses, then higher animals like goats are probably just like humans...with hooves and horns :):
 

raysputin

Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2016
Messages
2,397
They are quite amazing in many respects
 

Attachments

  • 8A8BB76B-C9AC-4CF3-A0B4-ECE692638D6F.jpeg
    8A8BB76B-C9AC-4CF3-A0B4-ECE692638D6F.jpeg
    213.1 KB · Views: 55

schultz

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2014
Messages
2,467
I don't think there is an animal where only dull instinct and reflexes exist. Even bacteria and viruses are shown to be capable of altruistic behavior, which requires some sort of awareness...or spirit, as you called it.
Viruses Have a Secret, Altruistic Social Life | Quanta Magazine

If this is true about viruses, then higher animals like goats are probably just like humans...with hooves and horns :):

Ray talked about ants once in one of the Politics and Science podcasts (the best Ray podcasts IMO) and I always remember what he said which is something along the lines of "ants aren't stupid, people just study them in stupid ways". Heavily paraphrased, and I think he was referring specifically to a particular researcher, but you get the gist of it. I always loved that quote and it is probably true with a lot of things. I should try to find where he said that....
 

Kartoffel

Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2017
Messages
1,199
What's not to love about goats? They are cute, intelligent, compassionate, and climb things. Plus, they also produce better milk that doesn't form bcm-7. They are human's best companion, and greatly underappreciated.

@schultz He once wrote this to me:

"It's a matter of poor observation. Careful observers of ants and bees
have concluded that they, the species studied, are as competent with
calculation and communication as humans. I think they were just being
polite to their readers, I think careful observation of ants or bees,
and careful analysis of the human data, can't lead to such a
favorable opinion of human intelligence. The idea of group
intelligence, the accumulated cultural richness, applies to humans,
but then that stored knowledge mostly has the function of improving
the self esteem of a species that spends most of its time in bizarre,
useless and harmful activities. Ants have larger brains in proportion
to their size than people, and their individual personalities and
characters are worth getting to know. The idea that they don't care
about themselves as individual beings is just a rationale for
insecticides. I have heard the same thing said about native Americans
and others. Haven't you ever seen an ant panic in fear or anxiety?
Other very playful animals are the hummingbirds, who also love sugar."​
 

shine

Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2018
Messages
440
They are quite amazing in many respects

I saw a documentary about them and they climb up these dams to get to salty patches. Just shows you how important salt is for the organism if they put themselves in such a dangerous situation to get it.
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2017
Messages
1,454
I once saw a short video on youtube about a dog who would get sad everytime there wasn't anyone at home, and the family's cat would comfort him by lying on him, or just by being being around him. It was really cute.

And also there are many videos and anecdotal evidence showing that when somebody is sad, their dog tries to cheer them up. They certainly are aware of the world, of other animals, of humans, etc.
 

Similar threads

Top