Goats Like People Who Smile at Them

iStock
iStock

One day, you may stumble onto a dairy farm or into a goat yoga class, and ask yourself one of life's important questions: What's the best way to befriend a goat? As is the case with human relationships, flashing a smile is a good place to start. A new paper published in Royal Society Open Science suggests that goats not only recognize happy human facial expressions, they're also drawn to them.

For their study, a team of researchers at Queen Mary University of London recruited 20 goats, 12 males and eight females, at the Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats in Kent in the UK. The goats were released into a pen lined with black-and-white photographs of humans making happy and angry faces. The livestock appeared to be more interested in the images of smiling people, walking over to them and even touching them with their noses. Happy faces on the right side of the pen attracted the most interactions, which may indicate that goats process positive emotion with the left sides of the their brains.

We already know that some animals are really good at reading human facial cues. In a 2015 study, trained dogs were able to successfully discern between happy and angry expressions, even if they were only shown a photograph of the top half of someone's face. It was thought this ability was limited to pets, but the new goat research suggests otherwise.

The study was small, and perhaps the results would be different if the goats were not already habituated to humans, as these subjects were. But if you do cross paths with a goat in the future, offering it a smile couldn't hurt.

11 Masks That Will Keep You Safe and Stylish

Design Safe/Designer Face Covers/Its All Goods
Design Safe/Designer Face Covers/Its All Goods

Face masks are going to be the norm for the foreseeable future, and with that in mind, designers and manufacturers have answered the call by providing options that are tailored for different lifestyles and fashion tastes. Almost every mask below is on sale, so you can find one that fits your needs without overspending.

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The breathable, stretchy fabric in these 3D masks makes them a comfortable option for daily use.

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This cotton mask pack is washable and comfortable. Use the two as a matching set with your best friend or significant other, or keep the spare for laundry day.

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RipleyRader

Don’t let masks get in the way of staying active. These double-layer cotton masks are breathable but still protect against those airborne particles.

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Avoid the accidental nose-out look with this cotton mask that stays snug to your face.

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Elicto

With this 12-pack of protective masks, you can keep a few back-ups in your car and hand the rest out to friends and family who need them.

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This dust-proof mask can filter out 95 percent of germs and other particles, making it a great option for anyone working around smoke and debris all day, or even if you're just outside mowing the lawn.

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Designer Face Covers

Channel some tropical energy with this flamingo fabric neck gaiter. The style of this covering resembles a bandana, which could save your ears and head from soreness from elastic loops. Other designs include a Bauhaus-inspired mask and this retro look.

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Eargasm Earplugs

This seamless gaiter-style mask can be worn properly for protection and fashioned up into a headband once you're in the car or a safe space. Plus, having your hair out of your face will help you avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth before washing your hands.

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Its All Good

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Prices subject to change.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. If you haven't received your voucher or have a question about your order, contact the Mental Floss shop here.

Australia Hotel Bans Local Emus After They Learn to Climb Stairs

No room service for these emus.
No room service for these emus.

The Yaraka Hotel in Queensland, Australia, has banned two unruly regulars from its property—a decision complicated by the fact that the guests in question are a pair of hungry emus. As CNN Travel reports, the bird siblings, named Kevin and Carol, have had their visitor privileges revoked following a pattern of bad behavior.

Yaraka township, where the hotel operates, is home to vibrant wildlife, including the second-largest living bird species on Earth. Despite their intimidating size, Kevin and Carol were once a welcome presence at the Yaraka Hotel. They would stop by occasionally for snacks and entertain guests staying at the hotel's rooms and campsites. But the birds were also known to push their boundaries by raiding picnics and sneaking into the hotel bar. The hotel's owners finally decided to take a stand after the emus learned to climb stairs.

Yaraka Hotel co-owner Chris Gimblett told CNN Travel that emus are "a bit like a vacuum cleaner where food is concerned." To prevent aggressive behavior toward guests in the upstairs dining room, the hotel installed a chain rope at the top of the steps that prevents the birds from entering. The sign that goes with it reads: "Emus have been banned from this establishment for bad behavior. Please let yourself through the emu barrier and then reconnect."

Birds may not be the first thing that comes to mind when listing Australia's most dangerous creatures, but the continent is home to plenty of vicious avian species. In addition to emus, Australia also has cassowaries, which have been called the most dangerous birds in the world. They defend themselves with a 5-inch claw on each foot, and at least two people have been kicked to death by the birds.

[h/t CNN Travel]