Tracking down the intelligence of goats

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For the first time, scientist from Germany wins coveted New Investigator Award of the International Society of Applied Ethology

Dr Christian Nawroth is the first young German scientist to win the prestigious New Investigator Award of the International Society of Applied Ethology. The prize is awarded annually to young researchers who have made exceptional scientific achievements in applied ethology at the beginning of their careers.

Ethology, or simply behavioural biology, is a sub-discipline of biology that studies the fundamentals of animal and human behaviour. At the Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN), excellent research has been conducted in this field on farm animals for over 30 years.

Biologist Dr Christian Nawroth has been part of the Institute for Behavioural Physiology at the FBN since 2017. For many years, the 38-year-old has dedicated himself to animal behaviour research and is considered one of the most active young scientists in this field. Above all, he is interested in using his knowledge of animal behaviour to improve their husbandry environment and human-animal interactions. The international award committee now honoured his previous achievements and publications in behavioural research as well as his commitment to modern science communication.

Well connected and progressive in science communication
In particular, Dr Christian Nawroth was one of the first to demonstrate that pigs can use cues given by humans to locate food and that goats show human-directed behaviour when confronted with a task that is not solvable for them. Especially in the behavioural research of goats, the Dummerstorf scientist was able to uncover remarkable abilities of the animals. The research aims to improve animal welfare in farm animal husbandry by means of the goats' learning abilities. The results have repeatedly attracted much attention, especially internationally.

The father of two studied biology at the universities of Gießen and Würzburg and spent two years researching at Queen Mary University in London, was also recognised for his proactive science communication. On the social media channel preferred by scientists, Twitter, he has over 4,500 followers (@GoatsThatStare). As the founder of the Animal Welfare Slack group, which now connects more than 800 scientists, Dr Christian Nawroth moderates webinars on animal welfare and animal behaviour every fortnight. He also blogs on his homepage ( and publishes his scientific papers with open access licences.

Background of the International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE)
The International Society for Applied Ethology was founded on 4 June 1966 in Edinburgh, Scotland, as the Society for Veterinary Ethology (SVE). It expanded to cover all applied aspects of ethology and other behavioural sciences relevant to human-animal interactions, such as agriculture, wildlife management, and companion and laboratory animal husbandry. For its 25th anniversary in 1991, the Society was renamed the International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE). Since 2013, the New Investigator Award has been presented annually to successful young scientists.

Photo: Nordlicht/FBN
For many years, Dummerstorf scientists like the newly selected award winner Dr Christian Nawroth have been working with goats and are always fascinated by the animals' intelligence.

Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN)
Director: Prof. Dr. Klaus Wimmers
P +49 38208-68 600

Institute for Behavioural Physiology
Head: Prof. Dr. Birger Puppe
P +49 38208-68 800

Dr. Christian Nawroth
P +49 38208-68 948

Public Relations: Isabel Haberkorn
T +49 38208-68 605

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Dr Christian Nawroth