Monday, August 3, 2009

Even goats swoon for me...

Let's face it - some genetic diseases are kinda funny. Narcolepsy is funny. Dwarfism can give rise to a few chuckles. But, of course, it would be cruel to laugh at people who can't control their genetic fate.

Fainting goats, however, are hilarious.

Imagine taking your child down to the petting zoo, your toddler screams after the goat and pulls its tail. Then, all of a sudden, the goat stiffens up, falls flat on its face and sticks its legs straight in the air. Admit it - it's funny. And, if you lack a sense of humor - check out this video and tell me that you didn't just smirk, or smile or fall off your chair laughing.

These goats suffer from a genetic disease called myotonia congenita. Although no actual cellular basis for the muscle stiffening has been found, it is likely due to overfiring of the neural impulses that lead to muscle contraction.

Now, now - don't get too excited... after these goats have 'fainted' they get back up and go on their merry way. It appears that they don't suffer any pain, and even learn how to fall better - to avoid those steaming bits of grass.

There are actually people who breed these goats, so - if you want to learn more... take a road trip down to Marshall County, Tennessee, where every year in October they celebrate the "Fainting Goats" at the "Goats Music and More Festival. You can count me in.

- Torah Kachur

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