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Goats and their gruff ways

Source: Science Daily
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If you’ve ever sat down and had a chat with a herd of goats, you’d notice that social intricacies are certainly lacking. However, researchers at Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences have discovered that social factors do have a role in determining the sound patterns of the goats’ bleats. Dr. Elodie Briefer and Dr. Alan McElligott studied goat kids who were full or half-siblings, and watched for who they associated with at five weeks, the time at which goats form peer social groups called “crèches.” Goats who associated with their half-siblings ended up sounding more like each other when they were raised in the same social group, suggesting that there is a level of plasticity in their vocal repertoire; their sounds aren’t determined by genes alone.