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Goats bleat in different accents, say scientists

Friday 24 February 2012, 02:52PM


When it comes to science, this one takes some bleating.


Scientists have found that baby goats change their calls depending on the group they're in, developing accents.


Until now it was thought – out of all the world's mammals – only bats and whales came close to our own vocal and language flexibility.


A team of leading British research scientists studied four groups of pygmy goats, who were all full- or half-siblings.


The scientists found that even unrelated goats began to mimic each other’s voices.
Dr Elodie Briefer said: “We discovered that genetically related kids produced similar calls, which is really not that surprising.


“But the calls of kids who were raised in the same social groups were also similar to each other, and became more alike as the kids grew older.


“This suggests that goat kids modify their calls according to their social surroundings, effectively developing similar ‘accents’.”

 

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