The Christian Science Monitor

Herd community: There’s more to cows than we thought, say scientists

Bob (left) and Wallace (right), both bovine residents at Unity Farm Sanctuary in Sherborn, Massachusetts, share lunch on Aug. 11, 2020. Source: Eva Botkin-Kowacki/The Christian Science Monitor

It’s lunchtime at Unity Farm Sanctuary, and all the residents are munching away. In the “Forever Friends” pen, Audrey and Pal gently jostle heads to share the trough. When Pal nudges Audrey’s face out of her way, she stops and licks his ear and his neck as if to say, ‘That’s OK. I still love you,’ before placing her head back in the haystack.

That may seem strange – especially when social distancing is the behavior du jour – but Audrey and Pal are cattle. And the licking is a way of showing affection and bonding among bovine.

Research published earlier this month in the

A complex networkLick-minded friends

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