Sci-tech

Sheep Can Recognize Obama's Face

Sheep Can Recognize Obama's Face

No, this isn't the beginning of a baaa-d joke.

Sheep have been trained to recognise the faces of celebrities, including former United States president Barack Obama, by University of Cambridge scientists who hope it may help with understanding neurodegenerative diseases. The investigators also found that the sheep could identify a picture of their handler without any training.

Earlier studies showed that sheep can recognize their trainers' faces and the faces of other individual sheep in their herd.

After some initial confusion, the animals picked the handler's picture in 72 percent of cases. On one side would be an unknown person and on the other would be one of four celebrities. That's significantly better than the 50 percent rate the sheep would have shown if they were guessing haphazardly, the authors of the study pointed out.

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Face recognition is a critical social skill in humans, and we are able to identify a known person within milliseconds of seeing them. First, the team familiarized the sheep with the celebrities' faces by showing the faces opposite a black screen or random objects.

Tapping on the "correct" portrait would reward the sheep with food while choosing the wrong face would result in no food and a sound being played.

Next, researchers paired a celebrity mug, like Gyllenhaal's now-familiar face, with an unfamiliar person.

The research isn't just a silly test, though.

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The sheep were able to pick out the celebrities and earn the food reward 8 out of 10 times.

In a final test, the sheep had to choose between a picture of one of their handlers' faces and an unfamiliar face.

Next, the sheep were taken into the barn and shown two photos. However, their ability to recognize human faces from photos alone is novel.

"My 2001 paper looked very carefully at this with a wider range of stimuli, more sheep and more conditions", he said.

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She is seeking a public hearing to tell her story , and continues to deny having any information about Russian hacking. The dossier also contributed in part to the FBI's initial investigation into Russian collusion and the Trump campaign.

The researchers published their findings today in the Royal Society Open Science journal with the title "Sheep recognize familiar and unfamiliar human faces from two-dimensional images".


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