A new study challenges the common misconception that goats aren't intelligent animals. stock.xchng

A new study suggests that goats have the sort of problem-solving skills and long-term memory previously associated with only a handful of the planet's most intelligent animals.

According to a study by the researchers at Queen Mary University of London and Institute of Agricultural Sciences in Zurich, goats are far more clever than previously thought.

To study goats' intelligence, scientists trained a group of the mammals to obtain food from a box, by pulling a lever with their mouth.

The memory of the goats was tested by repeating the task after one month and again after ten months.

In total nine of the 12 goats successfully learned the task according to the study, which was published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology.

"Our results challenge the common misconception that goats aren't intelligent animals - they have the ability to learn complex tasks and remember them for a long time," co-author of the study, Dr Alan McElligott, said in a statement.

"The speed at which the goats completed the task at 10 months compared to how long it took them to learn indicates excellent long-term memory," lead author Dr Elodie Briefer added.

Scientists also found that goats mastered the task through individual rather than social learning, as they did not learn the task faster after observing a demonstrator.

"We found that those without a demonstrator were just as fast at learning as those that had seen demonstrations. This shows that goats prefer to learn on their own rather than by watching others," Briefer added.