According to a new study conducted by a team of Cambridge University researchers, sheep have an almost human-like ability to recognize human faces. The experts began by training the animals to recognize the faces of former United States president Barack Obama, actors Emma Watson and Jake Gyllenhaal, and BBC’s Fiona Bruce. After completing the training, they noticed that the sheep were more often choosing the faces they already knew over some new ones.
The result of this experiment proves that sheep also possess the ability to recognize faces, just like primates do. It’s interesting that there have been other studies which have also showed how sheep were able to recognize other sheep and their human handlers too. According to professor Jenny Morton, the leader of the study, their idea was to see if sheep were able to recognize certain faces from photographs. The team also wanted to see whether or not the animals had the ability to acknowledge a two-dimensional object as displaying a person. The journal Open Biology recently published the study.
Sheep can recognize human faces too
For this interesting experiment, the researchers used eight Welsh Mountain sheep, all female. After being trained to recognize those four celebrity faces, the sheep needed to also tell them apart from unfamiliar faces. When they were breaking a laser beam with their noses, therefore making their choice, they were receiving a treat.
After this initial experiment, the experts also made the sheep recognize the faces but from different angles. Again, the animals did very well. And finally, they wanted to know if the sheep were able to recognize their handlers from a bunch of photos of people. The sheep proved once again that they are much smarter than we think. So, as a conclusion, the researchers admitted that sheep have almost the same ability to tell faces apart as apes, monkeys and humans do.
Image source: pixabay