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Open AccessArticle

Long-Term Socialization with Humans Affects Human-Directed Behavior in Goats

1
Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Productions, University of Naples Federico II, via Delpino 1, 80137 Naples, Italy
2
Department of Biology, University of Naples Federico II, 80126 Naples, Italy
3
Institute of Behavioural Physiology, Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology, Wilhelm-Stahl-Allee 2, 18196 Dummerstorf, Germany
4
Lo Zoo di Napoli, Viale Kennedy 76, 80129 Naples, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(4), 578; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040578
Received: 6 March 2020 / Revised: 27 March 2020 / Accepted: 28 March 2020 / Published: 30 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Small Ruminants)
Goats are a useful model species to explore the effects of ontogenesis on the socio-cognitive abilities of domestic non-companion animals. The aim of this research was to study the behavioral response of goats with different socialization backgrounds to humans in the impossible task paradigm. Two groups of goats (high and low levels of socialization) were tested. Highly socialized goats interacted more with humans (the experimenter) during the test, while the low socialization group exhibited a higher level of interaction with the exit door.
Throughout their evolutionary history, humans have tried to domesticate a variety of wild terrestrial mammals, resulting in a limited number that has been successfully domesticated. Among these domesticated species, domestic goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) are a useful model species to study the effects of ontogenesis on the socio-cognitive abilities of domestic non-companion animals in their interactions with humans. To this end, the behavioral responses of two groups of goats with a different background of human socialization (high and low socialization) were compared in the impossible task test, an experimental paradigm aimed to study socio-cognitive skills and the tendency to interact with humans. Our results show that, when the task became impossible to solve, goats with a higher level of socialization interacted with the experimenter for a greater amount of time than subjects in the low socialization group, whereas the latter group exhibited increased door directed behavior. Overall, highly socialized goats made more social contact with humans compared to the other group in the impossible task paradigm. View Full-Text
Keywords: cognitive test; domestication; evolution; goat behavior; heterospecific communication; impossible task cognitive test; domestication; evolution; goat behavior; heterospecific communication; impossible task
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mastellone, V.; Scandurra, A.; D’Aniello, B.; Nawroth, C.; Saggese, F.; Silvestre, P.; Lombardi, P. Long-Term Socialization with Humans Affects Human-Directed Behavior in Goats. Animals 2020, 10, 578. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040578

AMA Style

Mastellone V, Scandurra A, D’Aniello B, Nawroth C, Saggese F, Silvestre P, Lombardi P. Long-Term Socialization with Humans Affects Human-Directed Behavior in Goats. Animals. 2020; 10(4):578. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040578

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mastellone, Vincenzo; Scandurra, Anna; D’Aniello, Biagio; Nawroth, Christian; Saggese, Fiorella; Silvestre, Pasqualino; Lombardi, Pietro. 2020. "Long-Term Socialization with Humans Affects Human-Directed Behavior in Goats" Animals 10, no. 4: 578. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040578

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