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The Caprine Imitator: Man Lives as Goat for a Week


Ever looked up at the sky and realized how awesome it must be to be a bird? I did, when I was seven, and then learned how awesome the inside of ambulance was, which is to say pretty darn awesome. There have previously been people who have tried out real-life Animorph plots, like this guy who thought he was a lizard or the guy who realized all he wanted to do was become a cat. While some people may concern themselves with looking as much like a desired animal as possible, not many of them really try to get in the heads of the animal they’re imitating. That all changed last year, when an English man decided he wanted to understand the plight of the goat, and went to live among them.

Meet Thomas Thwaites: a self-described “speculative designer.” Over the past ten or so years he has been involved in a number of silly-sounding projects, which include an attempt to make a toaster out of pre-industrial materials and—my personal favorite—the Executive Chair that raises up or down depending on the current office power dynamic.

This time Thwaites spent three days in the Alps cavorting with caprines, chewing cud, and I’m assuming pooing literally everywhere. Oh, and he made himself some goat prosthetics.

He really went full... goat on this one.  Photo Credit: Tom Bowditch | Vice
He really went full… goat on this one.
Photo Credit: Tom Bowditch | Vice

Thwaites is doing it for a book that’s set to come out later this year, but I suspect he really just did it for the pictures.

MAJESTIC   Photo Credit: Tom Bowditch | Vice
MAJESTIC
Photo Credit: Tom Bowditch | Vice

It wasn’t all four-legged cavorting. According to Motherboard, during his goat-stint Thwaites thinks he may have even run into trouble when he committed a social goat-paux:

“I found myself at nearly the highest point on the hill of the whole herd of goats, and there was this moment where I looked and noticed that all the other goats had stopped chewing and were looking at me,” he recalled. “I hadn’t been scared at all before, but I suddenly became aware of their quite sharp and pointed horns.”

“A particular goat that I’d been hanging out with a lot seemed to have defused the situation,” he laughed. “I might just be making human stories in my brain, but that’s what it seemed to me.”

Yo, this OUR pastoral Alpine meadow, bro.   Photo Credit: Tom Bowditch | Vice
Yo, this OUR pastoral Alpine meadow, bro.
Photo Credit: Tom Bowditch | Vice

After being welcomed into the herd, Thwaites chewed and brayed his way through the rest of his experiment as a bona-fide member of the tribe, and the local farmers also seemed to think that Thwaites had been accepted.

BFFLs  Photo Credit: Tom Bowditch | Vice
BFFLs
Photo Credit: Tom Bowditch | Vice

And, more heartwarmingly, he may have even found love.

"Mmm I love you shiny head, you billy goat hunk."  Photo Credit: Tom Bowditch | Vice
“Mmm I love your shiny head, you billy goat hunk, you.”
Photo Credit: Tom Bowditch | Vice

Feature Photo Credit: Tom Bowditch | Vice

Brook O'Meara-Sayen

Brook O’Meara-Sayen is a journalism student at Emerson College forever on the hunt for that last ten minutes of sleep. In his spare time he enjoys reading, Merle Haggard, and spending Friday evenings trying to break his personal record for most cheddar eaten in one sitting.