Goats have accents.
According to a study from the University of London, pygmy goats develop bleats unique to their social group ("creche") as they grow older, and can distinguish "outsiders" from their different accents. This ability is thought to be particularly useful because goats live within complex social structures that separate during the day, as they graze, but that reconvene at night.
This relatively recent discovery adds pygmy goats to a short list of mammals known to adjust their vocal sounds in response to an environment: whales, bats, and, of course, humans.
Though interesting in-and-of-itself, the study may also have broader implications—particularly in its application to humans. The study’s authors believe their findings could help us understand how humans first developed the ability to speak.
Image: Nick Upton/Robert Harding World Imagery/Corbis