Sheep Can Recognize Obama's Face, New Study Shows

Janie Parker
November 9, 2017

The study's authors first trained the sheep to recognize images of four celebrities: Barack Obama, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emma Watson and Fiona Bruce, chosen because there were lots of available images from lots of angles.

The new evidence suggests that sheep can process information about a human face without requiring a 3-D "real person", said Morton.

Many other animals are known to recognise the faces among their own species, while some - including macaques, horses, dogs, mockingbirds, and sheep - can identify individuals from other species too.

In a separate test, researchers wanted to see if the sheep would recognize human trainers they already know without any training like they underwent in the pen with the celebrity faces.

"Sheep are long-lived and have brains that are similar in size and complexity to those of some monkeys". People recognise familiar faces easily, and can identify unfamiliar faces from repeatedly presented images.

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The sheep still recognized the celebrity portraits, even if posing at an angle, with only a 15 percent drop in accuracy. If they chose the wrong photograph, a buzzer would sound and they would receive no reward. The photo recognition experiment gives scientists a way to track changes in the cognitive abilities of sheep with a gene mutation that causes Huntington's disease, an incurable neurodegenerative disease.

The sheep picked the celebrity's face eight times out of 10.

Scientists would show each sheep two faces, one of which was the target celebrity, Sky News reported.

Finally, the researchers looked at whether sheep were able to recognise a handler without pre-training. Seven out of 10 times, the animals would favor the familiar faces of their handlers over the celebrities.

The researchers say this study of the ability of sheep to recognize faces may be useful in research into Huntington's disease and other human brain disorders that affect mental processing.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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