Goats: Way Smarter Than You Thought
Study: They can learn complex tasks and remember them
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Mar 29, 2014 6:20 AM CDT
Goats eat vegetable leaves from a cart belonging to a man working in a wholesale fruit and vegetable market in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, March 25, 2014.   (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

(Newser) – Goats aren't known for being the Einsteins of the animal kingdom, but they're highly adaptable to challenging environments—and that may be because they're a lot smarter than researchers had believed, Phys.org reports. Scientists in London and Switzerland gave goats what they called a "complex foraging task," per their paper published in Frontiers in Zoology: First, the animals had to pull on a rope to get at a lever. Next, they had to lift that lever to get a fruity snack, the Smithsonian reports. Nine of 12 goats tested were able to learn to do so within four tries. Two others tried to cheat using their horns, while one poor sap simply couldn't figure it out after 22 tries.

Ten months later, the nine champs were given the task again. Seems they hadn't forgotten what they'd learned: They all got to the fruit within about a minute. "Our results challenge the common misconception that goats aren't intelligent animals; they have the ability to learn complex tasks and remember them for a long time," says the study's co-author. "This could explain why they are so successful in colonizing new environments, though we would need to perform a similar study with wild goats to be sure." Speaking of goat smarts, Smithsonian notes that some goats in Morocco are known to climb trees, and they're not the only animal to surprisingly do so.

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Showing 3 of 27 comments
FarmerMichael
Mar 30, 2014 6:28 PM CDT
There is a reason whom ever the Lord is who dictated the Bible doesn't like goats...they are real "show me" animals over sheep. They don't take your word for anything and challenge everything. Thus goats and those that like them are devil folks. And biblical folks talk of shepherds, not goat herders. (Which makes that song from "Sound of Music" all the more fun....)
TheGunts
Mar 30, 2014 12:47 PM CDT
I always considered them geniuses up until I read this story. Now, I'm disappointed by how they're just as dumb as the rest of us.
rickydarlin
Mar 30, 2014 9:35 AM CDT
sure...that's why habebe/,ackmed have taken them for the wife