Show Details

Baby Goat Accents

May 2, 2012

Baby goats’ baas may contain a hidden message for their herdmates.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

The language of kids…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

(baby goat baas)

Baby goats look and sound adorable. But their plaintive calls could be communicating an important message. This according to animal behaviorist Elodie Briefer at Queen Mary University of London. She raised goat kids in several groups, and analyzed their calls at one week of age and again at five weeks. She found that genetics influenced their calls: kids raised in separate groups sounded more similar to their full siblings than to their half siblings. (baby goat baas)

ELODIE BRIEFER (Queen Mary University of London):

But also I found that kids raised in the same group had more similar vocalizations than kids raised in different groups, independently of the fact that they were related or not.

HIRSHON:

What’s more, members of a group sounded more alike over time. She says this is the first time accents have been detected in farm animals, but that having recognizable calls may help the animals find their herdmates after being separated. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

If raised in the same group, baby goat kids start to sound alike over time. (Elodie Briefer/Queen Mary University of London)