What Can Headbutting Goats Reveal About Brain Injury?

(Psychology Today) – Headbutting fights between male bovids (the family that includes cattle, oxen, goats, sheep, and buffalo) look and sound dramatic.

“They hit very hard,” says Nicole Ackermans, who leads the Comparative Vertebrate Neurodegeneration Lab at the University of Alabama. “We are working with pygmy goats right now and even they hit impressively hard.”

While all male bovids wield horns to impress potential mates, some species—notably sheep, goats, and muskoxen—engage in high-force headbutting fights for herd dominance. Males face each other, lower their heads, and charge at peak running speed, ramming head-to-head, sometimes dozens of times in a row. CONTINUE