Monday, 11 February 2008

Fainting Goats

Evolution is the basis of new species and new solutions to the problems of life. Examples of the wonders of nature are all around us and in one way or another in every animal. However, sometimes odd side effects show up.

An amazing, and entertaining, example of this is the fainting goats. These goats look like a regular goat, but when they become stressed or excited their legs freeze, and often they fall over due to this. The freezing is neither permanent nor harmful, and they will stand up soon again. The older more experienced goats usually managed to stay standing up and jump around with stiff legs. This effect is however only caused by external factors, the goats does not inflict this on each other. It can be such simple things as being fed or someone unfolding an umbrella.

So how has this evolutionary side effect arisen? Does it make sense? It has to be assumed it is not harmful for the goats in the wild. Even though goats have been domesticized for thousands of years this is a relatively short time in an evolutionary perspective. It is also probable that this is an side effect of some favourable mutations in the genetic history of the goats.

Here below are two entertaining and enlightening videos:
Video 1
Video 2

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