Perfect Ed Sheeran
7 November 2017, 21:34
Sheep have a highly developed ability to recognise the faces of celebrities, a new study has shown.
Although it has long been known that sheep are able to recognise the faces of their human handlers, scientists have now shown the farm animals can be trained to recognise images of famous people.
Professor Jenny Morton, the lead scientist in the Cambridge University study, said it showed sheep have face-recognition abilities comparable with those of humans or monkeys.
Her team trained eight sheep to recognise the faces of four celebrities - journalist Fiona Bruce, actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Emma Watson, and former US president Barack Obama.
In the tests, each animal was shown two faces, one of which was the target celebrity, and given an award of a cereal pellet if it approached the correct image.
They were then put in a pen and tested on whether they recognised the celebrities without the cereal rewards - and eight times out of ten they did.
It was also discovered that the sheep distinguished photographs of their handlers - people that the animals spend two hours a day in the company of - ahead of those of celebrities. They picked the real-life familiar faces over famous people seven times out of ten.
The sheep's facial recognition abilities could be used to investigate Huntington's disease, which can cause people to lose those very abilities, scientists said.
The team has now begun studying sheep genetically modified to carry the mutation that causes the disease.
(c) Sky News 2017: Sheep are able to recognise celebrity faces, study shows