London, March 26 IANS | 9 months ago

Goats can learn to perform complicated tasks quickly and remember them for a very long time, research shows.

"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," said Alan McElligott from Queen Mary University of London.

"This could explain why they are so successful in colonising new environments, though we would need to perform a similar study with wild goats to be sure," McElligott added.

For the research, the scientists trained a group of goats to retrieve food from a box using a linked sequence of steps; first by pulling a lever with their mouths and then by lifting it to release the reward.

The goats' ability to remember the task was tested after one month and again at 10 months.

They learned the task within 12 trials and took less than two minutes to remember the challenge.

"The speed at which the goats completed the task at 10 months compared to how long it took them to learn indicates excellent long-term memory," said Elodie Briefer from ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

The researchers also found that goats love to learn the tasks on their own.

The research appeared in the journal Frontiers in Zoology.

(Posted on 26-03-2014)

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