Thomas Thwaites The Man Who Tried To Live As A Goat

In his quest for a simpler life, one man has transformed himself into a goat. Thomas Thwaites, a 34-year-old researcher from London, has spent the past year creating prosthetics that allow him to roam around on all fours. He’s studied their behaviour, learned their way of communicating and even attempted to create an artificial goat stomach to allow him to eat grass. His efforts, funded by the government, culminated in a three day trip to the Swiss Alps, where he lived as a goat, roaming the hills with a herd.

But why would anyone go to such lengths to be a goat? ‘I suppose it was because it could be fairly difficult, depressive and just stressful being a human being,’ Thwaites told Thwaites, who is interested in transhumanism, believes not everyone will want to become a cyborg in the future. Biorobotics, he told Motherboard, could be used by people to de-volve instead of evolve. ‘I initially wanted to be an elephant, but it wasn’t going very well,’ said Thwaites. ‘I visited a shaman, and she said “you’re an idiot”. So, I decided to be a goat.’

The researcher set himself a goal of crossing the Swiss Alps and, and on his way, managed to convince a goat farmer to let him live with his herd. He also convinced Dr Glyn Heath, a former zoologist in Salford, to create the bizarre prosthetics. But living as a goat, Thwaites soon found, wasn’t as easy as he’d expected. The prosthetics were painful, the landscape was tough and Thwaites was constantly battling the cold. Those challenges, however, were nothing compared to the task of convincing the herd he was one of them.

‘It’s much easier to walk up on my prosthetic front legs. So I ended up quite high on a hill surrounded by goats,’ he recalls. ‘That was possibly a goat faux-pas, because it shows dominance by how high in the herd you are. ‘I looked up and all the other goats were looking at me. Everyone else had stopped chewing and it was in that moment, when I thought, “those horns look quite sharp”. ‘Luckily, I think I made a goat friend. He made a move, and it kind of diffused the situation.’

A farmer, whose herd was grazing nearby, witnessed the incident and told Thwaites he thought the goats had finally accepted him. After his three days living with the herd, Thwaites spent another three days as a goat living alone. ‘It was an interesting experience,’ he said. ‘I guess, I just think perhaps it would be nicer to live a simpler life.’ Thwaites plans to showcase photos of his project at London's Studio1.1 Gallery from September 3 to 17. He also has a book coming out in the spring, titled ‘GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human.’

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