Sheep and Faces – level 3

09-07-2019 15:00

Researchers from Cambridge University trained eight female mountain sheep to identify the faces of Barack Obama, actress Emma Watson, actor Jake Gyllenhaal, and BBC newsreader Fiona Bruce.

The scientists showed the sheep pictures of people on two side-by-side computer screens. On one side would be a stranger and on the other would be one of the four celebrities. The ewes would receive a reward of food for choosing the photograph of the celebrity by breaking an infrared beam near the screen displaying it. If they chose the wrong person, a buzzer would sound and they would receive no reward. The animals eventually managed to identify the familiar face eight times out of every 10.

Professor Jenny Morton, who led the study, said in a statement, that the sheep have shown that they have advanced face-recognition abilities, comparable with those of humans and monkeys.

Difficult words: researcher (somebody who does research – studies something), ewe (a female sheep), infrared beam (a device which can tell when something gets between two things).

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