Sheep are Clever: They Can Actually Recognize People from Different Angles

Khryss | Published 2017-11-17 13:31

Including your favorite US president, Barack Obama!

Eight sheep showed people an unexpected ability: they were able to recognize four celebrities' mugshots, of different angles!

Firstly, they were trained to familiarize four celebrities--former US president Barack Obama, UK newsreader Fiona Bruce, and actors Emma Watson and Jack Gyllenhaal--mugshots. When showed with pairs of pictures with one being either of the four, the sheep chooses the celeb pic by approaching it.

The mugshots were paired with different levels of distractions: from black oblongs to look-alikes. And by the end, the sheep accurately picked the right picture 79 per cent of the time. So, for the next task, they were then shown left- or right-sided profiles. Surprisingly, the sheep picked out the celebs 66 per cent of the time!

“That’s way more often than by chance,” says lead author Jenny Morton of the University of Cambridge, UK. “With the angled face, the percentage drop in recognition was the same as for humans, around 15 per cent,” she says. “I was surprised they did as well as they did.”

“It’s amazing sheep can quickly learn to recognise unfamiliar human faces presented in different viewing perspectives,” says Kun Guo of the University of Lincoln, UK. “It’s possible this human-like face perception capability is more widespread in the animal kingdom than we previously thought.”

Perhaps sheep aren't so dim-witted at all and it may not be long before calling fools "sheeple" becomes an insult to sheep! Gotta be fast, humans.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/sheep-learn-recognise-celebrity-faces-different-angles/

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