London: We all know that domestic animals such as dogs and horses can communicate with humans. A new study suggests that even goats could become man's new bestfriend as they have the capacity to communicate with humans.
The findings found that goats respond to people by gazing at them when facing a problem they cannot solve alone and their responses change depending on the person's behaviour.
The study was conducted by the researchers from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) in the UK.
The goats were trained by them to remove a lid from a box to receive a reward. In the final test, they made the reward inaccessible and recorded their reaction towards the experimenters, who were either facing the goats or had their backs to them.
Researchers said that the goats redirected their gaze frequently between the inaccessible reward and human experimenters.
They further added that goats also gazed towards a forward facing person earlier, more often and for longer compared to when the person was facing away.
Christian Nawroth from QMUL said, ''Goats gaze at humans in the same way as dogs do when asking for a treat that is out of reach, for example''.
"Our results provide strong evidence for complex communication directed at humans in a species that was domesticated primarily for agricultural production, and show similarities with animals bred to become pets or working animals, such as dogs and horses," said Nawroth.
The research shows that the domestication of animals has a much broader impact on human-animal communication than previously believed.
For example, it is thought that the capacity of dogs to perceive information from humans is the result of changes to the brain from becoming a companion animal through domestication, researchers said.
"Goats were the first livestock species to be domesticated, about 10,000 years ago," said Alan McElligott from QMUL.
"From our earlier research, we already know that goats are smarter than their reputation suggests, but these results show how they can communicate and interact with their human handlers even though they were not domesticated as pets or working animals," said McElligott.
The findings were published in the journal Biology Letters.
(With PTI inputs)