Scientists have found that goats with a happy expression are attracted to humans.
The result suggests that a larger number of animals can read people's moods than previously thought.
The team showed goat pairs from the same person, one showing an angry expression and the other a happy face.
The goats in the study went straight to the happy faces, the researchers report in the journal Open Science.
The result is that the ability of animals to perceive human facial features is not limited to those with a long history
Instead, animals domesticated for food production, such as, e.g. Goats, also decipher human facial features.
The study was published in the Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats in Kent, UK
Co-author Alan McElligott of the University of London's Queen Mary and his colleagues set up pairs of black-and-white photos at a distance of about 1
The researchers found that the goats strongly favored the smiling faces and approached the happy faces before acknowledging the furious photos. They also spent more time examining the smiling faces with their muzzles.
But the effect was only significant when the happy-faced photo was placed on the right side.
When the lucky photos were placed on the left, the goats showed no significant preference.
The researchers think that because the goats use one side of their brain to process the information – something that is seen in other animals.
It could either be that the left side of the brain processes positive emotions, or that the right side of the brain is involved in avoiding angry faces.
Dr. McElligott, who now works at the University of Roehampton, said, "The study has important implications for how we interact with animals and other species because the ability of animals to perceive human emotions can be prevalent, and not just limited to pets
Co-author Natalia Albuquerque of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, said: "Study O The perception of emotions has shown very complex abilities in dogs and horses.
" So far, however, there was no evidence that animals like goats could read human facial expressions. Our findings open up new avenues for understanding the emotional lives of all pets. "
The study could also have implications for animal welfare by improving the perception of these animals by highlighting their sensibility.