The domestic goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) is a subspecies of goat first domesticated in southwest Asia and Eastern Europe in approximately 8000 BCE, making them (along with cattle) among the first animals ever domesticated for agriculture. The goat is a member of the family Bovidae, and is closely related to the sheep as both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae.
There are over three hundred breeds of goat, which are bred by humans for their meat, skin, milk, fur, and sometimes companionship. While the goat has been traditionally kept on Isla Nublar for a considerable amount of history in S/F canon, its Tun-Si name is currently unknown.
Other subspecies of wild goat include:
- Capra aegagrus aegagrus, the bezoar ibex, found from Turkey to Iran
- Capra aegagrus blythi, the Sindh ibex, found in southern Pakistan
- Capra aegagrus chialtanensis, the Chiltan ibex, found in Pakistan
- Capra aegagrus turcmenica, the bearded goat, found in Iran and Turkmenistan
This article will primarily describe the goat as portrayed in S/F canon and its offshoots, unless otherwise noted.
The goat is a small-sized (45 to 300 pounds, depending on the breed) hoofed bovid. Most goat breeds naturally have two horns, though the size varies between breeds and sometimes between sexes. The length of the coat, which can come in a variety of colors, is also highly variable; some goats have very long hair, while others have quite short hair. The tail is generally short.
Goats differ from cattle in a variety of ways. Most obviously is their size, but female goats have two teats on their udders as opposed to cows, which have four. Some exceptions do exist, though, such as the Boer goat, which has eight. The pupils in the eyes of goats are also much more noticeable, with easily identifiable horizontal rectangular shape. Additionally, whereas polled (hornless) cattle can be reliably bred, this has not been accomplished in goats. When polled goats are bred, a high percentage of sterile intersex offspring usually result. This is because the genes controlling sex and the genes controlling horn growth in goats are closely linked.
InGen has used medium-sized to small goats in its parks. White, black-spotted goats and white, brown-headed goats have both been seen; many goats in InGen parks have had moderate-length swept-back horns. In L/M canon, the Dinosaur Protection Group utilizes short-horned white female goats with black spots in Sanctuaries as fodder for carnivorous animals. White goats with short horns are used as fodder animals in InGen parks in Jurassic World: Evolution, an alternate-timeline offshoot of S/F canon.
Baby goats are called kids. Most are born with smaller horns, which grow as the animals mature. As with many mammals, the head is disproportionately large in babies. They mature in about 305 days, but this varies with breed.
Goats in captivity live for about eighteen years.
Differences between male and female goats varies with breed. Male goats have sebaceous scent glands at the base of the horns which are used to attract females.
Goats are one of the oldest domesticated species, originally native to the Middle East and South Asia. Goats have been used for their milk, meat, hair, and skins over much of the world. In the twentieth century they also gained in popularity as pets. Because of this, and because goats are highly adaptable, they can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Feral goats have become invasive in many parts of the world, especially isolated islands.
According to Jurassic Park: The Game, the Tun-Si tribe raised goats on Isla Nublar for thousands of years. Ancient goat paths were maintained for generations, according to Nima Cruz, but some were destroyed by InGen making way for construction.
Jurassic Park had a supply of goats to use as food for some of the carnivorous dinosaurs. One of them was brought up from underground during the tour to entice the T. rex into making an appearance. After being ignored for a time, the goat was eaten by the Tyrannosaurus.
According to reports from the Dinosaur Protection Group, goats continued to survive on Isla Nublar in a herd structure following the incident. The Tyrannosaurus continued to prey on them, keeping their population in check. It is not known where on the island the goat herd chose to reside, but as goats are highly adaptable, they could theoretically survive anywhere on the island.
In 2015, goats were still used as a food source in Jurassic World, at least in T. rex Kingdom. The mobile game Jurassic World: The Game also indicates that goats were utilized in the IBRIS Project, though there was a high failure rate and thus a high goat mortality rate. The game also indicates that there is a farm on Isla Nublar where livestock, likely including goats, would be kept.
It is not known if goats were used as a food source for carnivores on Site B, as there is no evidence for this. However, in the novel The Lost World (C/N), goat milk is mentioned as a source of nutrition for hatchling dinosaurs, as it was believed to be hypoallergenic and safe for their consumption.
Goats are found wherever permanent human habitation occurs, meaning they are found globally and on every continent except Antarctica. They were first domesticated in southwest Asia and eastern Europe, but have since proliferated alongside humans. As of 2011, there were approximately 924 million goats around the world. Most of these live in captivity, but feral goats are known from places where they have been abandoned or escaped (as was temporarily the case on Isla Nublar).
A goat was used by the security personnel hired by Eli Mills and Ken Wheatley at Bemjamin Lockwood‘s estate to draw the Tyrannosaurus rex into a holding pen. In the alternate timeline presented in Jurassic World: Evolution, goats are commonly used as fodder for carnivorous animals at InGen facilities in the Gulf of Fernandez and on Sanctuary Island.
In L/M canon, goats are frequently used by the Dinosaur Protection Group to feed carnivorous animals in Sanctuaries around the world.
Behavior and Ecology
Goats are diurnal animals.
Diet and Feeding Behavior
While goats are characterized as opportunistic herbivores that can and will eat anything, this is not quite true. Goats are browsing animals (as opposed to grazers like cattle), favoring vines, shrubbery, and weeds. They are curious by nature and will investigate unfamiliar objects that vaguely resemble plant matter by chewing on them to determine if they are edible. However, they will not actually eat non-food items. Goats will also eat the woody tips of trees and shrubs, and will sometimes take large-leafed plants.
In the parks, the goats were not shown engaging in social behavior due to being fodder animals for the carnivorous dinosaurs. However, following the abandonment of Isla Nublar, the goats were left in the wild and were reported to live in a herd structure.
Goats are herd animals and tend to be very social. They establish dominance through headbutting and other mild combative behaviors.
Goats in equatorial regions such as Isla Nublar can breed at any time of the year. Puberty is reached between three and fifteen months of age.
Female goats, called does, can go into estrus once every forty-eight days, for a period of two days. She will vigorously wag her tail, remaining close to a male goat (or buck). She becomes more vocal, eats less, and produces less milk. Bucks exhibit rutting behavior when females are in estrus, eating less and becoming obsessed with does. He will curl his lip, urinate on himself, and produce scent to attract females.
Gestation lasts roughly 150 days, after which twins are usually born. Single and triplet births are also common, but larger litters are rare. The mother typically eats the placenta after birth, which helps hide the scent from predators; on Isla Nublar, they would likely exhibit this behavior.
The kids usually drink their mother’s milk for about 305 days, after which they start to wean off it and begin to mature.
Goats are best known for their bleating sounds. A goat in Jurassic Park in 1993 could be heard bleating to itself. There were no other goats nearby, but it would likely have been recently removed from the other goats in the island’s stock and may have been calling to them. Goats in isolation at various InGen facilities have been heard bleating to themselves, often shortly before being eaten by their intended predators. When frightened, their bleating can be much higher-pitched.
It is unlikely that goats played any role in the ecology of the islands during the construction and operation of the parks, as they would have been kept in captivity during those years. However, following the abandonment of each park, the goats would likely have escaped into the wild. Goats are notorious for escaping captivity and becoming feral.
Goats are highly adaptable herbivores. Due to their small size, they would have been incapable of defending themselves against larger predators and may have faced competition for habitat and food from herbivorous dinosaurs. Their diet consists of vines, shrubs, and weeds, many of which would be harder for the large herbivorous dinosaurs to access.
They would also compete for food with the indigenous Nublar tufted deer, which is the size of some smaller goats. The deer is crepuscular and inhabits deep forested areas. Goats often decimate habitats when they become feral, so it is likely that the deer suffered from competition more than the goats.
Known predators of goats on Isla Nublar include Tyrannosaurus rex. Presumably, other carnivorous animals would prey on them as well. The largest indigenous carnivore on the island is the common boa, whose typical diet includes mammals in this size range.
Relationship to Humans
Goats are some of the oldest of domesticated species. They were domesticated over ten thousand years ago, and are used for their milk, hide, fiber, manure, and meat. The Tun-Si people of Isla Nublar kept domesticated goat herds thousands of years before InGen took over the island.
InGen has also historically used goats as fodder animals in their dinosaur parks. They were most famously used as food for the Tyrannosaurus rex; one was also used by Ken Wheatley’s security personnel in 2018 to bait a tyrannosaur into a holding pen, presumably based on InGen’s history of feeding it goats. However, this was not the only use of goats by InGen. The beet root salad served in Winston’s Steakhouse in Jurassic World included goat cheese as an ingredient.
In the modern day, goats are gaining popularity as companion animals due to their sociable nature.