Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Machine Learning Offers Insights into Evolution of Monkey Faces, Researchers Find

05.02.2015

Computers are able to use monkey facial patterns not only to correctly identify species, but also distinguish individuals within species, a team of scientists has found. Their findings, which rely on computer algorithms to identify guenon monkeys, suggest that machine learning can be a tool in studying evolution and help to identify the factors that have led to facial differentiation in monkey evolution.

“Studying the cues that species use to discriminate each other often poses a challenge to scientists,” explains James Higham, an assistant professor of anthropology at New York University and one of authors of the study, which appears in the journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B”. “Many species are now rare and, in the case of these particular monkeys, they live high in the rainforest canopy, so are very difficult to reach.”


George Perry

Computers are able to use monkey facial patterns not only to correctly identify species, but also distinguish individuals within species, a team of scientists has found. Their findings, which rely on computer algorithms to identify guenon monkeys, above, suggest that machine learning can be a tool in studying evolution and help to identify the factors that have led to facial differentiation in monkey evolution.

“Driving our study was the premise that if a characteristic such as individual identity can be classified reliably from physical appearance, or what we call ‘visual signals’, then these signals may have evolved in part for the purpose of communicating this characteristic,” says study author William Allen, who undertook the work while at NYU, but who is now a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Hull (UK).

“We sought to test a computer’s ability to do something close to what a guenon viewing other guenons’ faces would do,” adds Allen. “We did so by taking measurements of visual attributes from photographs of guenon faces and asking a computer to try and separate different groups as accurately as possible on the basis of these measurements.”

Their study relied on more than 500 photographs of 12 species of guenons collected in various settings: in zoos in the United States and the United Kingdom and in a wildlife sanctuary in Nigeria. The guenons, the authors note, are a particularly interesting and visually striking group to study, with many closely related species that exhibit a remarkable diversity of colorful patterned faces.

The analysis focused on specific guenon visual signals—facial patterns generally as described using the ‘eigenface’ technique, a method used in computer vision for human facial recognition, as well as eyebrow patches and nose spots segmented from images. From here, the researchers tested whether or not an algorithm could accurately accomplish the following: identify individual guenons, classify them by species from among the 12 in the sample, and determine the age and sex of each individual.

Their results showed that the computer could employ both overall facial pattern and eyebrow patches and nose spots to correctly categorize species and identify individuals, but not their age or sex.

“The reason that machine learning cannot classify age and sex is because facial patterns do not seem to be different between males and females and do not seem to change as individuals age,” observes Higham. “This suggests that conveying these characteristics to others has not been an important factor in the evolution of guenon appearance.”

“In contrast, the fact that species and individual identity can both be reliably classified suggests that the ability to indicate these things to others has been a strong factor in the evolution of guenon faces,” he adds. “More broadly, these results demonstrate that faces are highly reliable for classification by species and that visual cues have played an important role in the radiation of this group into so many different species.”

Contact Information
James Devitt
Deputy Director for Media Relations
james.devitt@nyu.edu
Phone: 212-998-6808

James Devitt | newswise
Further information:
http://www.nyu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht When predictions of theoretical chemists become reality
22.05.2020 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht From artificial meat to fine-tuning photosynthesis: Food System Innovation – and how to get there
20.05.2020 | Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: I-call - When microimplants communicate with each other / Innovation driver digitization - "Smart Health“

Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.

When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...

Im Focus: When predictions of theoretical chemists become reality

Thomas Heine, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at TU Dresden, together with his team, first predicted a topological 2D polymer in 2019. Only one year later, an international team led by Italian researchers was able to synthesize these materials and experimentally prove their topological properties. For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.

Ultrathin materials are extremely interesting as building blocks for next generation nano electronic devices, as it is much easier to make circuits and other...

Im Focus: Rolling into the deep

Scientists took a leukocyte as the blueprint and developed a microrobot that has the size, shape and moving capabilities of a white blood cell. Simulating a blood vessel in a laboratory setting, they succeeded in magnetically navigating the ball-shaped microroller through this dynamic and dense environment. The drug-delivery vehicle withstood the simulated blood flow, pushing the developments in targeted drug delivery a step further: inside the body, there is no better access route to all tissues and organs than the circulatory system. A robot that could actually travel through this finely woven web would revolutionize the minimally-invasive treatment of illnesses.

A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart invented a tiny microrobot that resembles a white blood cell...

Im Focus: NASA's Curiosity rover finds clues to chilly ancient Mars buried in rocks

By studying the chemical elements on Mars today -- including carbon and oxygen -- scientists can work backwards to piece together the history of a planet that once had the conditions necessary to support life.

Weaving this story, element by element, from roughly 140 million miles (225 million kilometers) away is a painstaking process. But scientists aren't the type...

Im Focus: Making quantum 'waves' in ultrathin materials

Study co-led by Berkeley Lab reveals how wavelike plasmons could power up a new class of sensing and photochemical technologies at the nanoscale

Wavelike, collective oscillations of electrons known as "plasmons" are very important for determining the optical and electronic properties of metals.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Inexpensive retinal diagnostics via smartphone

25.05.2020 | Medical Engineering

Smart machine maintenance: New AI system also detects unknown faults

25.05.2020 | Information Technology

Artificial Intelligence for optimized mobile communication

25.05.2020 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>