We learned from the natural world that squirrels and birds live in trees and that goats stay on the ground… but not in next nature! These acrobatic goats, found in Morocco, have become adept at climbing Argan trees in search of food, showing us a great example of their intelligence and adaptability.
Food is rare in this area, so they have to grab it how they can, even if it’s high up in a tree. The secret to their ability to climb lies in the evolution of the shape of their hooves. The keratin strengthened hoof wall adds power, the soft textured sole gives traction and grip, just like if they were wearing a pair of sneakers.
The goats eat the nuts from the trees, but the farmers in the area want to harvest those nuts for their precious oil. If the goats get to a tree before they do, farmers collect the nuts the goats drop and they also pick through the goat’s manure to find the kernels of the nuts, from which they then extract oil.
Apart from lead us to produce oil from digested nuts, tree-climbing goats have shifted ecosystems to the trees! What's next? Maybe some dinosaurs will surprise us...
Protoceratops image via All Yesterdays.