Science

Why do fainting goats faint?


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The locking up is caused by a rare genetic disorder called myotonia congenita. It makes the goats’ skeletal muscles, especially in their back legs, suddenly tighten up and then slowly loosen again.

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Myotonic goats are known as “fainting goats” because when something surprises or frightens them, their muscles go stiff for a short time, and they fall over! ... One explanation is that a natural mutation in a Tennessee goat herd created the gene that causes the stiffness.

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