Face it: Sheep are just like us when it comes to recognizing people | Science News

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Face it: Sheep are just like us when it comes to recognizing people

In facial-recognition tests, the animals picked images of familiar faces over pictures of strangers

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7:09pm, November 7, 2017
sheep

DOUBLE TAKE  Scientists trained sheep to recognize pictures of celebrity faces, and showed that the animals have advanced, face-processing abilities similar to those of humans.

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Emma Watson, Jake Gyllenhaal, journalist Fiona Bruce and Barack Obama all walk into a sheep pen. No, this isn’t the beginning of a baaa-d joke.

By training sheep using pictures of these celebrities, researchers from the University of Cambridge discovered that the animals are able to recognize familiar faces from 2-D images. Given a choice, the sheep picked the familiar celebrity’s face over an unfamiliar face the majority of the time, the researchers report November 8 in Royal Society Open Science.

Even when a celeb’s face was slightly tilted rather than face-on, the sheep still picked the image more often than not. That means the sheep were not just memorizing images, demonstrating for the first time that sheep have advanced face-recognition capabilities similar to those of humans and other primates, say

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