Actual Headline: Sheep Recognize Obama

Mandy Carr
November 9, 2017

Those celebrities were journalist Fiona Bruce, actor Jake Gyllenhaal, former US President Barack Obama and actress Emma Watson.

Researchers consider facial recognition as one of the most important human social skills.

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.

In a separate test, researchers wanted to see if the sheep would recognize human trainers they already know without any training like they underwent in the pen with the celebrity faces.

A sheep "model" of Huntington's disease has been bred, displaying similar brain and social changes as witnessed in human patients. However, the ability of sheep to identify faces was unclear. Sheep now join other animals, including horses, dogs, rhesus macaques and mockingbirds, that are able to distinguish between individuals of other species.

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In addition to being shown images of the celebrities facing forward, scientists also tested the animals' ability to recognise the faces in photographs taken from other angles. If they chose the wrong photograph, a buzzer would sound and they would receive no reward.

Morton and a team trained eight sheep to recognise the famous faces from a frontal photo of each of them. The sheep were having two options in each step as a photo of celebrity face or another is of something else.

The Cambridge congregation included eight Welsh Mountain female sheep that learned successfully four different faces of celebrities, during the experiment.

Finally, the researchers looked at whether sheep were able to recognise a handler without pre-training. "My guess is that the ability of sheep to recognize human faces is a by-product of selection to discriminate between different sheep faces", he says.

The sheep made the correct choice of celebrity or handler roughly 70 percent of the time on average.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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