Sheep can be trained to recognize faces of celebrities, a Cambridge University study found.
It’s long been known a flock can become familiar with the visages of their human handlers. Scientists now found that that ability can be applied to photos of famous faces, too, Sky News reported.
Scientists found that sheep have facial recognition abilities akin to those of humans or monkeys, according to Jenny Morton, the lead scientist in the study.
Morton’s team trained eight sheep to recognize the faces of four celebrities: journalist Fiona Bruce, actors Jake Gyllenhal and Emma Watson and former U.S. President Barack Obama, Sky News reported.
Scientists would show each sheep two faces, one of which was the target celebrity, Sky News reported. The animal was given a cereal pellet as an award if it approached the correct image.
When they were tested if they could perform without the rewards, the sheep were able to recognize the celebrities faces eight out of 10 times, Sky News reported. Seven out of 10 times, the animals would favor the familiar faces of their handlers over the celebrities.
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. The team is studying sheep with the genetic mutation that causes the disease.