Sheep recognize faces of celebrities

A sheep. Smarter than it looks

Scientists say the study could help advance research of Huntington's disease, which causes humans to lose their ability to recognize faces, Sky News reported.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge trained eight sheep to recognize the faces of four celebrities from photos shown on a computer screen.

EWE AGAIN Sheep were trained to recognize celebrity faces, demonstrating that the animals can recognize a familiar human face from a 2-D image.

"This face recognition task will allow us to test whether or not sheep carrying the Huntington's disease gene mutation are impaired in their ability to think and reason", Morton explained.

"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. The Cambridge flock, eight female Welsh Mountain sheep, successfully learned the faces of four celebrities in a recent experiment: Obama, British newscaster Fiona Bruce and actors Emma Watson and Jake Gyllenhaal. "I guess they have extended our work to show that sheep generalize viewpoints of the faces, which does require a rich representation of the identity". People recognise familiar faces easily, and can identify unfamiliar faces from repeatedly presented images.

Results said that the sheep were able to spot the right face on more than one occasions.

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 8, 2017 (HealthDay News) - If you ever find yourself in the company of sheep, don't be surprised if they seem to recognize you.

"Humans do tend to underestimate the ability of sheep", Morton said by email. "Although I didn't think sheep could recognize emotion, it made me think about face recognition as a complex brain process".

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

Likewise, when the authors of the new study swapped celebrity photographs with those of the sheep's handlers, the farm animals needed no training. When a portrait of the handler was interspersed randomly, the sheep chose them seven out of 10 times.

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