Researchers found that a goat’s accent evolves throughout its life, picking up influences from other goats it hangs out with.
The findings disprove earlier theories that only humans, elephants and dolphins pick up accents from other social groups.
Scientists are excited and there have been suggestions that “if goats can do it, maybe all mammals accents can be affected by their surroundings”.
“We found that genetically related kids produced similar calls, which is not that surprising,” said Dr Elodie Briefer, who led the study.
“But the calls of kids raised in the same social groups were also similar to each other, and became more similar as the kids grew older.
“This suggests that goat kids modify their calls according their social surroundings, developing similar ‘accents’.”
She continued that the same could well apply to other animals: “Nobody has ever looked at that and whether there’s something in the environment that could affect their accent when they’re young.
“We don’t know, because people are so sure there’s no effect of the environment that no-one has checked. But if goats can do it maybe all mammals’ accents could be affected by their environment.”