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Published on Thursday, November 30, 2017

Expert Level Facial Recognition in Sheep


A short informative video by National Geographic explains the results of recent research on the ability of sheep to recognise faces.

A research study at Cambridge University was conducted to examine the ability of sheep to recognize human faces. Scientists conditioned eight sheep with a series of tests which began with placing the sheep in a room with two monitors that displayed images of celebrities and two treat dispensers underneath that dispensed a grain pellet when the infrared beam was broken. Initially, only one image at a time was displayed to associate the specific faces with a reward when the sheep approached it. After the sheep linked the treats to the faces, the sheep were presented two images of faces, one of which is a reward-triggering face. The sheep approached the familiar face an amazing 80% of the time.

When scientists displayed the same celebrity face with a picture taken at a different angle along with a stranger face, the sheep were less accurate however, still performed at a success rate similar to human’s. Moreover, when the sheep was presented an image of the trainer (a picture they’d never seen before) along with an image of a stranger, the sheep approached the image of the trainer. Although these results are not extremely significant, they still play a large role in our understanding in brain degeneration disorders such as Huntington’s disease.

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Author: AThompson

Categories: Blogs, Animals & Wildlife, Videos, Animals & Wildlife



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