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Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai Email Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai
October 2018

The opportunity to see goats doesn’t happen often, but when you do see one—perhaps at a petting zoo or an agricultural fair—do you smile at it? If you’re like most people, you barely make eye contact with the goat, let alone smile at it.

Goats would certainly appreciate your smile. That’s what a group of researchers at Queen Mary University of London seem to have found.

The researchers borrowed 20 goats from a sanctuary and put them in a pen. On one side of the pen, they placed photos of angry people; on the other side, they placed photos of smiling faces. The researchers found that the goats spent 50 percent more time around the smiling faces than the scowling ones. (Perhaps the goats thought they were more likely to be fed by people who were smiling at them.)

“Overall, we found that goats preferred to interact first with happy faces, meaning that they are sensitive to human facial emotional cues,” the study’s authors wrote.

Previous studies have shown that dogs are able to perceive our emotions, but this study suggests that even livestock are able to read our faces.

“The study has important implications for how we interact with livestock and other species because the abilities of animals to perceive human emotions might be widespread and not just limited to pets,” said Dr. Alan McElligott, lead author of the study.

So if you feel like smiling at a goat, go ahead and do it. You may actually make the goat’s day.

Goat: “Hey, that woman smiled at me. It’s a good feeling when a human smiles at you.”

Second goat: “Yes, it’s a good feeling, unless the human is smiling at the thought of having some goat curry.”


Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.

[Comments? Contributions? We would love to hear from you about Chai Time. If you have contributions, please email us at We welcome jokes, quotes, online clips, and more.]

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