The Goat

Goats were one of the first animals to be domesticated. This event was a pivotal point in human history, representing a key shift of mankind from hunter-gatherers to agriculture-based societies.

The European settlers of America brought goats over on the Mayflower, and a 1630 census from Jamestown listed goats as one of the colony’s most valuable possessions. By 1904 the popularity of the goat surged in America following the World’s Fair that year in St. Louis. At the fair, they hosted the first dairy goat show in America as well as an exhibit featuring 300 Angora goats.

Contrary to popular belief, goats don’t eat everything. They are somewhat picky eaters, and don’t have teeth in their upper jaw. Instead they have a strong dental pad. They have an amazingly mobile upper lip that helps them sort through spiny, thorny twigs to find plants’ tender leaves.

Because of their rectangular pupils, goats can see 320 -340 degrees in their periphery, which means they can see everything except what is directly behind them. This is very useful in avoiding predators. The drawback to this odd shaped pupil is that goats are unable to look up or down without moving their heads.

One of the more notable species of goats is the myotonic goat, better known as the fainting goat. As a result of a genetic quirk, when they get startled or excited, their muscles freeze up causing them to topple over. They don’t actually faint because they remain conscious, but they can’t move until their muscles release. The muscles usually return to normal within minutes or seconds.
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