Beautiful Science

In dry southern Morocco, domesticated goats climb to the top of native argan trees for fresh forage.Spanish ecologists have observed an unusual way in which the goats may be benefiting the trees, said the Ecological Society of America. The researcher
PHOTO: EBD-CSIC

In dry southern Morocco, domesticated goats climb to the top of native argan trees for fresh forage.Spanish ecologists have observed an unusual way in which the goats may be benefiting the trees, said the Ecological Society of America. The researchers reported their discovery in the May issue of the Frontiers In Ecology And The Environment journal. Argan features in beauty products containing argan oil, made from the tree's nuts. The nut is surrounded by a fruit that looks like a green olive. For goats, the fruits are a tasty treat worth climbing up to 9m into the branches to obtain, said the society.Goats re-chew their food after fermenting it for a while in a specialised stomach. While ruminating over their cud, they spit out the argan nuts, delivering clean seeds to new ground. Gaining some distance from the parent tree gives the seedling a better chance of survival.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2017, with the headline 'Beautiful Science'. Print Edition | Subscribe