With whom you will be led, from that you will gain: why did the Briton turn into a goat?
Categories: Animals | Europe | Positive | ScienceBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/with-whom-you-will-be-led-from-that-you-will-gain-why-did-the-briton-turn-into-a-goat
Just imagine: high in the green meadows of the Swiss Alps, the eccentric Briton Thomas Thwaites grazes with a herd of goats, turning into one of them.
"Sweat is streaming from my face," Thomas says in his new book, "The Goat Man: How I Decided to Take a Vacation in Human Life." — My hands are burning, and I can't feel my knuckles. I can imagine there's not much whole skin left on them."
After a long preparation, Thomas finally achieved his goal — he became a goat. Studying the behavior patterns of these wonderful animals, he realized that goats prefer to be here and now, they are not able to think much about the future or the past, because they probably do not have episodic memory.
But why did Thomas decide to become a goat in the first place?
(8 photos in total)
In 2014, a 33-year-old British graphic designer was up to his ears in debt, lived with his father and unsuccessfully sent out resumes to everyone. Things were not going well, and Thomas was thinking that it would be nice to retire somewhere away from all the difficulties of life, arrange a nice vacation not just away from work, but, so to speak, away from his human essence.
In fact, the limit of Thomas' extravagant dreams was to get a grant that would allow him to become an elephant and cross the Alps. "I would adapt my essence, which makes me walk on two legs, and become a quadrupedal, develop a special stomach prosthesis that would allow me to digest grass, adapt my sight and hearing — in general, it would be a very cool experience."
One day, while in South Africa and looking at animals from a fairly close distance, Thomas realized that elephants feel pain and sadness in the same way as humans. Well, the trip to the shaman put everything in its place: the sorcerer, without hesitating in his expressions, told Thomas that his plan to turn into an elephant was sheer idiocy, since in spirit he was much closer not to these cute animals, but to goats.
And the plans changed.
Thomas visited Buttercups, the largest goat sanctuary in the UK (and possibly the whole world), and talked with the director of the sanctuary, Dr. Alan Mcalligott, the most prominent British expert on goat behavior.
Thwaites learned from him (to his misfortune) that goats feel stressed, especially when they are attacked. In addition, they are smart enough to fake a limp when they are being led by someone they don't want to follow. Usually goats hang out in groups divided by gender.
"I hope you're going to turn into a goat, not a goat? — Alan McElligott decided to clarify. "Because, you know, there are some important points in how these cute animals identify each other."
After many awkward consultations with specialists, Thomas managed to build a goat costume. With the help of a doctor who is engaged in prosthetics, Thomas has prepared special devices that allow him to move comfortably on four limbs, just like a real goat.And so Thomas put on his miracle hooves, a waterproof jacket, a special helmet (in case his newfound friends decide to fight) and went to visit the goats.
On the first morning, Thomas got up at 4 a.m., when the owners of the farm where he stayed usually start milking the goats. Then all together went down to the foot of the mountain. The start of the experiment was given to Thwaites with difficulty. He was finally able to realize how difficult it was to move in such a strange way, especially to descend from the mountain.
"My front legs were sliding in front of me on the wet grass, it was terrible," Thomas said. The animals reacted to Thwaites without much enthusiasm: "The first goat I decided to join in order to walk together just looked at me like a jerk and ran away."
After that, Thomas, along with the other goats, began to chew grass. "The blue-green grass was tastier than the dark green, but in general I liked both." Gradually, Thomas mingled with the herd, and the goats began to perceive him as one of their own. "A couple of goats came up to me and with some concern decided to sniff me. Well, I overcame my aversion to their smell and sniffed them back."
Soon Thomas had a friend, a goat, whose name was Number 18. "We spent a lot of time together, and it was fun: she stayed close to me while I chewed grass, and when she decided to move on to gnawing another bush, I followed her. We felt each other."
At some point, Thomas got so carried away eating delicious grass that he went far up the mountain. He suddenly noticed that he had climbed decently higher than the rest of the herd, and all 60 of his horned companions were looking at him in complete silence. "There was an eerie silence. Everyone stopped chewing." In his book, Thomas compares this moment to an episode from westerns when a stranger enters a saloon. "And then I remembered that I had read about it: when someone from the herd rises too high, it can be perceived as a kind of request for dominance. Honest mother, it seems that I, without realizing it, submitted an application for leadership!"
The day quickly came to an end. Sepp, one of the owners of the farm, encouragingly remarked that Thomas was doing well, but Thwaites was exhausted to the point of impotence.
"If you decide to become a goat in search of a simple life, it's better to work as a goat breeder than to turn into an animal," Thwaites sums up his experiment, who is now busy preparing for a new project.
Keywords: UK | Zoology | Research | Goats | Strange | Freaks | Experiment
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