(NaturalNews) New research has found that goats can learn how to solve complicated tasks very quickly and can then recall how to perform them for at least 10 months, which could help explain their remarkable ability to adapt to extremely harsh environments.
Researchers at Queen Mary University of London, writing in the journal Zoology recently, trained a group of goats to get food from a box using a linked sequence of events -- first, by pulling a lever with their mouths and then by lifting it to release the food.
The goats' ability to recall the task was tested at one month and again 10 months later; they were able to learn the new task within 12 trials and it took fewer than two minutes to recall the procedure.
"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 co-author Dr. Elodie Briefer, now based at ETH Zurich.
Before each learning session, researchers said, some goats were given the opportunity to watch another goat demonstrate the feat.
"We found that those without a demonstrator were just as fast at learning as those that had seen demonstrations. This shows that goats prefer to learn on their own rather than by watching others," Briefer added.
The research marks the first time that scientists have tested goats' ability to learn relatively complex physical cognition tasks; the study explained that the test results could help demonstrate why goats are able to adapt so well to their environments, and how they can be so proficient at foraging for food in the wild, as examples.
"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 co-author Dr. Alan McElligott from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences.
"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," she added.
Okay, but what about kids?
In contrast, many of today's children are guilty of committing some fairly brainless acts.