You would be forgiven for underestimating the intelligence of sheep, considering that their daily activities revolve around grazing. But research reported in the current issue of Nature indicates that, in fact, sheep possess more smarts than previously thought.
Keith Kendrick and colleagues at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, England, investigated the sheep’s ability to distinguish and remember faces of both other sheep and humans. Presenting 20 sheep with pictures of 25 pairs of sheep faces, the researchers trained the animals to associate one of the pair with a food reward. They determined that the sheep could recognize the individuals associated with a reward even in profile and for up to two years. By measuring activity in the right temporal and medial frontal cortices—regions of the ovine brain associated with visual recognition—the team further discovered that sheep can remember as many as 50 sheep faces in addition to a familiar human face. And sightings of familiar faces do not go unacknowledged. The scientists report "clear behavioral signs of recognizing both absent individuals by vocalizing in response to their face pictures in the same way as they did to faces of other members of their current social circle." So the next time you hear a sheep bleat, he may just have seen a long-lost flock-mate.
The recollection of fellow sheep weakens slowly but progressively over time, the team concludes, with the memory of a specific individual fading first into a generalized category of familiar individuals before it is forgotten completely. Indeed, the face-processing system at work in the sheep brain is analogous to the mechanism by which humans remember and recognize individuals over long periods. "This suggests," the authors write, "that sheep may be capable of using the same system to remember and respond emotionally to individuals in their absence."
Sarah Graham | Scientific American
Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences
Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.03.2018 | Life Sciences