Feeling mehhh: Goats bleat to reveal their emotions to friends

/ 06:22 PM July 10, 2019

Goat bleats are key to revealing feelings to their companions, according to a study published in Frontiers of Zoology.  Image: AFP/Delil Souleiman

A bleat of a goat not only sounds remarkably human, but they are also key to revealing feelings to their companions, according to new research that deepens our understanding of the animals’ emotional complexity.

As part of a study published in Frontiers of Zoology on Tuesday, July 9, scientists played the ruminants a series of calls from a hidden speaker that were either happy or sad.


To obtain positive calls, they approached goats with buckets of food. For the negative calls, they recorded goats that were frustrated at not being fed while others were.

When they switched from playing one type of bleat to the other, the goats were more likely to look toward the source of the sound and walk about, suggesting they were able to distinguish its emotional content.


Readings of heart-rate variation that were taken from the goats corresponded to a positive, more relaxed state when they were played the happy calls, and a distressed state when the sad calls were played.

“It is quite crucial for us because often we talk about animal welfare and how we can improve the animal life in a farm setting,” Luigi Baciadonna, lead author of the study from the Queen Mary University of London, told AFP.

It means that if some goats in a group are distressed, or content, that can cause a ripple effect among others.

Baciadonna would next like to investigate whether goats are able to respond to different emotions displayed by humans.  HM


Thailand’s orphaned baby dugong becomes conservation star

Fox crosses Arctic to reach Canada from Norway in record time


TOPICS: Animal Welfare, Calls, Emotions, Farm, friends, goats
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.