A new report suggests sheep have the same facial-recognition abilities as humans and primates.
In a recent study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, eight sheep were presented pictures of four celebrities: former President Barack Obama, actress Emma Watson, British TV host Fiona Bruce and actor Jake Gyllenhaal.
While previous research revealed sheep had some facial-recognition abilities — they can recognize other sheep and other familiar human faces — it was unknown how they would do with unfamiliar faces.
By an overwhelming majority — similar to humans’ abilities -the animals were able to recognize faces from different angles. They could perform the task at about 66 percent – “a magnitude similar to that seen when humans perform this task.”
In the final part of the test, sheep could identify a picture of a known handler 72 percent of the time.
“Sheep can not only be trained to recognize unfamiliar human faces but they can also recognize the face of a person familiar to them from a two-dimensional image,” the researchers noted.