The men who stare at goats - London boffins make farmyard breakthrough

09:01 20 June 2012

Help: Volunteers tend animals at Wellgate Farm

Help: Volunteers tend animals at Wellgate Farm

Archant

Mother goats can remember their kids’ voices more than a year after they have been separated, boffins at a London university have found.

Researchers recorded calls made by five-week-old pygmy goats and played them back to their mothers.

The mother goats were able to recognise their individual kids’ calls after as long as 12 to 18 months.

Study leader Dr Elodie Briefer, from Queen Mary, University of London, said: “Because of the difficulties involved in following the same individuals over years, long-term recognition has been studied in only a few species.

“Our study shows that animals remember socially important partners.”

The research is reported in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Long-term recognition of social partners helps to maintain relationships in species that live in groups, said the scientists.

This could be especially important in animals experiencing long separation periods through migration or hibernation, or that live in complex societies such as goats.

Dr Alan McElligott, also from Queen Mary, said: “Understanding the cognitive capacities of our domestic animals is important for animal welfare and providing the best possible living conditions, particularly if they have such long memories.”

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

More Quirky London

Friday, April 17, 2015
(Pic: Theo Cohen for London Pet Show)

Man is responsible for some terrible acts of nature. But dog yoga - or ‘Doga’ as it’s known - might just take the biscuit for the most ridiculous.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Researching pictures of full English breakfasts for this article was a hard task for a hungry journalist... [Photograph by Ewan Munro]

A woman from Greenwich has started up a cooked breakfast delivery business - and hopes to expand across London.

Friday, April 10, 2015
Alisan has had its premises licence suspended (Pic credit: Angela Blake)

A restaurant in Wembley has been forced to close after it had its premises licence suspended following a serious of violent incidents including an attempted murder.

Friday, April 10, 2015
The fox cub trapped in the football net.

A fox cub, only a few weeks old, nearly scored an own goal when it caught its neck in a back garden football net.

Thursday, April 9, 2015
The sign was spotted by Emily Power

This intriguing sign was spotted in east London offering the princely sum of £50 for completing a 1000-piece jigsaw.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
The final piece [Photograph by @CandieBandit]

A Parisian man proposed to his girlfriend last week in the most east London way possible: with a graffiti mural in the tunnel near Shoreditch High Street station.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...