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

Thursday, February 26, 2015
The bizarre artefacts were being handed out at London Bridge (Picture: Imgur/DocJawbone)

Commuters at London Bridge were left perplexed when instead of being handed their usual free paper they were given an intricately hand-drawn copy of the Guardian from four years ago.

Thursday, February 26, 2015
The couple 'having sex' on Charlton's pitch

A Vine video of a couple appearing to have sex on the pitch of Charlton Athletic football club’s pitch has gone viral.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Shaunna Baynes broke her nose and injured her hip in the fall

An Elvis fan who allegedly tripped over an air steward sprawled across the business class aisle of a flight has received £2,000 in compensation – from her own lawyer.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
We wouldn't want to be faced with a giant version of this on the way to work [Photograph by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]

We know train stations can be germ-ridden places, especially when they’re full of commuters in flu season, but Waterloo actually has a giant petri dish of bacteria in it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

In London, we like to think that we don’t suffer fools gladly - but when asked to photograph a man and his ‘invisible friend’ on the Southbank, lots of us played along.

Monday, February 23, 2015
Owl cafes are already popular in Tokyo (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)

The latest bizarre single-idea cafe to swoop into London is sure to be a hoot (sorry) as a pop-up cocktail bar in Soho plans to be full of owls. Yes, OWLS.

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Your life as a carefree fresher is long gone. This year you’re all about to-do lists, coffee and Friday nights in the library. Such fun.

Read more

The Press Association’s education correspondent discusses Labour’s tuition fee plans

Read more

Committee wants to find out ‘and have a better understanding of the eco-systems that will be affected’.

Read more

Promoted content

A look at one of our previous Design Fairs

Chelsea Old Town Hall will be the venue for the renowned Desire Fair from 6-8 March 2015. This stunning mixed media jewellery and silversmithing event where visitors can purchase direct from contemporary designer makers selected from the best in the UK is an event not to be missed.

Take our quiz and find out!

A survey conducted last year revealed that Britain is the fourth sexiest country in the world, with the UK sex toy industry worth an estimated £250 million a year.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

The Press Association’s education correspondent discusses Labour’s tuition fee plans

Clarkson doesn’t think Top Gear is for “for people who wear pink ties”. We fear he may be limiting his audience.

A girl from south Manchester fell ill after taking a tablet thought to contain ecstasy

Quirky London