Genetics lesson?

September 18, 2012 • 8:33 am

This is one of the funnier animal posters I’ve seen recently: it’s a science-themed LOLGoat! And very clever it is, too.

Three points:

1. No, this is not Photoshopped.

2. Yes, they are goats, not sheep

3.  They aren’t heterozygoats at a “color” locus (though they’re undoubtedly heterozygoats at many DNA positions in their genomes).

As alert reader Linda Grilli informs me (she raises and breeds goats, and also has four black cats and another named Clawed Monet), these are Cou Noir French Alpine dairy goats, which sometimes have this striking pattern (“cou noir” means “black neck”).  Here’s another specimen from The Young Dairy Farmer’s Wife site, shorn for show:

20 thoughts on “Genetics lesson?

  1. I really like the poster, and I’m sure I will understand “They aren’t heterozygoats at a “color” locus (though they’re undoubtedly heterozygoats at many DNA positions in their genomes)” after I complete Mohamed Noor’s “Introduction to Genetics and Evolution”

  2. Actually, the kids in the poster are Valais goats, a Cashmere fiber breed, not a dairy breed.

    The kid in the second picture is a French Alpine dairy goat.

    And, JonLynn @ #3, yes, there are French Alpines with the “cou blanc” color pattern, white in the front, and black at the rear.

    The Valais are all the pattern you see in the kids on top, “cou noir”. A friend who helped someone artificially inseminate some cou noir Alpines with Valais semen imported from Switzerland (where the Valais breed originates) tells me that the correct color pattern for Valais has the black extending to the midline of the animal, unlike the cou noir Alpine, where the black ends at the point of elbow. L

      1. You could get any number of results from that, largely depending on what the grandparents looked like.

        Alpines have no color requirements to be registered except they can’t be all white and they can’t be Toggenburg marked or Oberhasli marked. So, you might get a solid black, which is fine, or you might get another cou blanc or cou noir. If one of the grandparents were chamoise(e), you might not get a cou type pattern at all.

        (Help me out here, Jerry!) L

    1. Will you BEHAVE yourself??!!??

      And anyway, speckled and spotted are Nubians and LaManchas, not Alpines and Valais. L

      1. speckled and spotted are Nubians and LaManchas

        So, the Goat of La Mancha prefers tilting his lance at nubile Nubians — Nubians from the Nile, naturally, one presumes?

        Will you BEHAVE yourself??!!??

        Apparently not. I must be a really sorry old goat, I guess….


        1. Looks more like Jacob was the old goat, from that story you quoted. I had no idea the Bible had that much – shagging in it.

          Of course it’s a classic old story of some guy having it off with the domestic staff, but in this case it seems his wife and his sister-in-law were setting it up for him? All I can say is, wow! I have a new respect for the bible, I knew it was depraved but I had no idea it was so… inventive. 🙂

  3. Seriously, does anyone know who OWNS this image, in the legal sense? The BorderWars Blog used it, but don’t know, and I want to put it in my next book, along with striped horses from the Penycuik Experiments.

      1. You can be very sure they own the rights or have paid for a licence. are very strict. I couldn’t sell products printed with
        a photograph I took in a public place of a cinema that had been redecorated for one day to look like the Alhambra in Peter Jackson’s King Kong;
        a photograph I took of a bust of Alfred Einstein at the Nuclear Science school of UCLA Berkeley, photoshopped to look like gold. Einstein’s image and his name are all bequeathed to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a US firm monitors its rights strictly;
        products with the words “The Foreskin be with you” in yellow letters receeding as if lying flat on a black background. I have no idea which aspect of that George Lucas lays claim to, but I’m not going to mess with him.

  4. I lived on the north coast of Moloka’i for some time along with herds of wild goats originally left there by British sailors as a potential food source should they ever be shipwrecked in the future. These goats were almost always colored mostly brown and black.

    I frequently beachcombed along the base of the 2,000+ foot sea cliffs on that coast and would sometimes see very young goats all by themselves. (I assumed that the way a mother goat would wean her offspring would be to walk it down to the base of cliff and then, when it wasn’t looking, would leave it. By the time the young goat would find its way back to the rest of the herd it would be weaned.)

    One year I found a (non-albino) youngster that was almost completely white with the exception of a black nose and little black knees. I took him home, named him Raspberry and looked forward to never having to mow my lawn again. After about two weeks of listening to his incessant whining each time his lead would get snagged on the least little twig and seeing the selective way he grazed (leaving the stuff he didn’t like) I decided to turn him loose. Before I could do that though, I was contacted by the local high school which had heard about him somehow and which wanted to use him for an experiment. After being assured that he wouldn’t be harmed I put him on a plane and sent him off “to school”. The school put him in with their own little goat herd and tracked his genes for years to come.

  5. “Clawed Monet” … Great name for a cat!

    You’ve posted a few times on clever scientific names in taxonomy but have you ever thought of posting funny cat names like this?

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