Fainting Friends

Ryan Horwitz and Madison Ruiz

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Fainting goats may be quite comical to the people who see them “faint”.; But in reality, this is a genetic disorder that hinders them from being able to thrive as a species of goats in the wilderness. The goats, also known as myotonic goats, stiffen up and fall over when they are startled. This disorder is known as myotonia congenita and is a result of the brain receiving signals from the eyes and ears and sending an electrical signal throughout the body to the legs, causing them to tense up for a short period of time. These goats only exist purely because of humans. They would not be equipped or suited for life in the wild due to their sessions of tensing up when scared, making them very easy prey for any predators. This would almost certainly result in extinction for this breed because they lack the ability to flee from danger. Luckily for our fainting friends, the breeders that take care of them are watchful over these vulnerable aniomals and take precautions to make sure the goats can live a full, happy life.

This diagram of the brain shows how when a myotonic goat is startled or experiencing fear, the brain is affected in the Sensory Cortex, which ultimately signals to the goat that it is scared, resulting in stiff legs that make the goat unable to move. As soon as the legs stiffen and the goat is mid-motion, it collapses or “faints”. Hence the name, “fainting goat”.

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