The Ram

After thousands of years of domestication, have we really managed to tame the mighty ram? We may no longer worship our woolly allies, but the ram hasn’t lost all of its legendary attitude. A sheep is even the world’s most famous farm animal. Dolly is the first clone of an adult mammal ever born, and is also proof the ram is far from boring.

Produced by NHNZ

Male sheep and male goats are called rams, and throughout history we’ve admired them as tough, independent and clever creatures. But why? When you see them on farms today they look docile, dim-witted, and thoroughly domesticated. These close cousins are our oldest friends, having been domesticated perhaps 9000 years ago. We even call our children “kids”, and if they behave well they’re our little “lambs”.

But goats and sheep never used to be so docile. High in the mountains is where the ram forged a reputation for being big, butch, and horny. To survive on these frozen cliffs, mountain goats and sheep have to be tough. No wonder we were once impressed by the power of the ram. Even today cars are “ram tough”, and sports teams choose the ram as their macho mascot.

The ram was once a god. The Greeks deified the goat as Pan – a god half human/half goat. Pan was the reason people suddenly got frightened in lonely places. That’s why it’s called “pan-ic”. But then along came Christianity and suddenly the devil was as much goat as human, with horns and cloven hooves. Yet while the goat was getting the blame, its cousin the sheep was getting the glory. Sheep may not be any brighter than a 30 watt bulb, yet they’ve had all the good press. According to the Bible the Lord is our shepherd, who looks kindly over his flock of sheep-like children.

After thousands of years of domestication, have we really managed to tame the mighty ram? We may no longer worship our woolly allies, but the ram hasn’t lost all of its legendary attitude. A sheep is even the world’s most famous farm animal. Dolly is the first clone of an adult mammal ever born, and is also living proof that the ram is far from boring.

Episodes From This Series

The Cow

30 mins / 2001

The Bee

30 mins / 2001

The Shark

30 mins / 2001

The Whale

30 mins / 2001

The Parrot

30 mins / 2001

The Fish

30 mins / 2001

The Butterfly

30 mins / 2001

The Ram

30 mins / 2001

The Dog

30 mins / 2001

The Cat

30 mins / 2001

The Worm

30 mins / 2001

Who was the Real Lord of the Flies

2 Minutes / 2007

The Goldfish and the Emperor

2 Minutes / 2007

How a Moth Saved the Queen of England

2 Minutes / 2007

Dracula Was A Little Batty

3 Minutes / 2007

Are Butterflies the Messengers of the Gods

2 Minutes / 2007