Sheep Can Recognize Obama's Face

Sheep Can Recognize Obama's Face

Sheep Can Recognize Obama's Face

Sheep can recognise human faces, spot the facial features of their handlers, and can even distinguish newsreader Fiona Bruce from actress Emma Watson.

The BBC quoted researchers as stating that "sheep possess similar face recognition abilities to primates".

Sheep learnt to recognise Barack Obama after being shown his photo a few dozen times, said a study on November 8 which suggested our four-legged friends may be smarter than we think.

As with some other animals such as dogs and monkeys, sheep are social animals and can recognise other sheep as well as familiar humans.

"Anyone who has spent time working with sheep will know that they are intelligent, individual animals who are able to recognise their handlers", said Prof Jenny Morton, who led the study. "This current study adds an interesting new ability to the surprising wide repertoire of behaviour of sheep".

"Sheep are long-lived and have brains that are similar in size and complexity to those of some monkeys". But little is known about their overall ability to process faces. "Sheep successfully recognized the four celebrity faces from tilted images".

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Morton and her colleagues released eight sheep one-by-one into a pen outfitted with two computer screens.

The scientists showed eight female sheep portraits of a random person and a celebrity. The sheep didn't do as well but still passed, recognizing the celebrities about 68 percent of the time - a drop in performance comparable to that seen in humans performing the same task.

If you ever find yourself in the company of sheep, don't be surprised if they seem to recognize you.

Researchers say this is without any prior training.

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. By the end of this experiment, the sheep chose a familiar celebrity's face over a stranger's face about 79 percent of the time on average.

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