MAY 26, 2017 06:16 AM PDT

Tree-Climbing Moroccan Goats Disperse Tree Seeds by Spitting

While exploring the wilderness in Morocco, you might experience things you wouldn’t expect, such as goats jumping into trees and perching themselves in the branches like a bird would.

While researchers have known about their unique tree-climbing abilities for some time, most average people do not. Of course, that’s not the only kind of behavior that researchers studying the creatures took notice of at the time.

Meet the curious Moroccan goats that climb trees.

Image Credit: H Garrido/EBD-CSIC

According to a report published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, the goats appear to enjoy grazing the treetops in particularly arid times of the year when rainfall, which is already scarce, is at its scarcest.

More importantly, they may be dispersing seeds of the thorny Argan trees they’re climbing as they munch on fruits they discover on various branches and regurgitate the larger seeds.

Related: This fearless goat mingles with ferocious tigers and lives to tell the tale

Since Morocco gets very little rainfall, the fruit offer a decent source of food and water for the goats. Mutually benefiting mother nature, their liking for climbing high and foraging the branches for tasty treats appears to be a mechanism for facilitating the trees’ multiplication throughout the region.

Moroccan goats are seen climbing trees in this YouTube video.

More importantly, the idea that the Argan tree seeds are collected from goat feces seems to be a myth as well. They’re particularly large seeds at almost an inch long, and as such, the likelihood that they’re passing through the goat’s digestive system doesn’t seem as likely as them being spat out before they swallow.

To find out for sure, the researchers fed goats five different types of fruits and watched as the goats spat out the seeds. The behavior was more common when the seeds were large rather than small, and more importantly, up to 70% of the spat seeds could still sprout.

Although the regurgitated seeds can sometimes come in contact with feces on the ground, this may have led to the initial confusion, however the study proved some basis for how the original theory wasn’t the case and provided evidence for regurgitated seeds rather than defecated seeds.

Related: How goats are used to prevent wildfires

For now, however, it definitely appears to be a great example of how life in certain ecosystems depend on one another: the goats depend on the trees for food, and the trees depend on the goats for dispersal. It’s certainly interesting to learn how these things work out; wouldn’t you agree?

Source: Live Science

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUL 10, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
JUL 10, 2018
Newly Found Enzyme can Help Turn Plant Waste to Plastic
Scientists discovered an enzyme that can harvest a versatile molecule from trash....
JUL 13, 2018
Technology
JUL 13, 2018
Watch: HEXA Robot Takes Care of Plants
This spider-like robot will shift your succulent plants into sunlight or shade....
JUL 23, 2018
Plants & Animals
JUL 23, 2018
These Sneaky Monkeys Scavenge Nuts That Are Pre-Cracked by Predators
Throughout West Africa’s Taï National Park, the miniature mangabey monkey scavenges on the remnants of hard nuts that have been cracked open by...
AUG 22, 2018
Plants & Animals
AUG 22, 2018
Some Macaws Blush In Response to Affection, Others Ruffle Their Feathers
Parrots are some of the most popular pets for bird lovers, and while their intelligence is widely-recognized, that hasn’t stopped acclaimed researche...
AUG 24, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
AUG 24, 2018
Bumblebees Under Threat From Inbreeding and Disease
Agriculture and habitat loss have put huge pressures on bee populations. Those aren't the only problems bees are facing....
SEP 09, 2018
Videos
SEP 09, 2018
Mass elephant poaching in Botswana
Ninety dead elephants have been found in Botswana recently, most large bulls whose tusks have been removed. Botswana has historically had a zero-tolerance...
Loading Comments...