According to a recent study by the Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences in London, goats can actually bleat in different "accents".
The study was conducted on four groups of pygmy goats that were full or half-siblings. Their sounds were recorded when they were about a week old and again when they started mingling with goats from other groups. In the first group of records, it was found that goats can mimic their sibling's voice. Later on, when they moved to a new group, it was observed that they could adapt to completely new voices as well.
"We discovered that genetically related kids produced similar calls, which is really not that surprising. But the calls of kids who were raised in the same social groups were also similar to each other, and became more alike as the kids grew older. This suggests that goat kids modify their calls according to their social surroundings, effectively developing similar 'accents'," Dr. Elodie Briefer from the research team was quoted as saying, by the Mirror.
Till now, only bats and whales, among mammals, were thought to have language flexibility like humans. This new research could throw light on the existence of vocal flexibility in other species as well.
In addition, this information could also be very useful in improving animal welfare practices. Although the study has only considered baby goats, there is a strong possibility that this trait could extend to adult goats and hopefully other animals as well.