Thursday, April 6, 2023

Interesting Article in NY Times Science section.. on goats

 Well, not totally about goats, but close. It is an article on how the "out group" in some animals are better at solving problems and trying something new. In this case (LINK) the goats were tested at all social status - the lead male, the females, and the lower social level animals that are outcasts / don't get to breed.

Because these animals are domesticated but still relatively free to create their own social groups, goats and camels were tested. They found that the best problem solvers were lower on the social scale. You can watch the tests online, but here are the basics.

The scientists produced a problem were food was in covered plastic cups on a fence. While the higher cast animals were not able to solve it quickly, the lower cast in both camels and goats made quick work of it. They have less to lose and more to gain from problem solving. 

It makes sense to us humans, but is the first test of this on animals. Researchers did not expect a difference by social status, but it happened!

Lower social position provides the animals a catalyst to prove themselves.

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