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
New technique to determine protein structures may solve biomedical puzzles
11.12.2019 | Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
NTU Singapore scientists convert plastics into useful chemicals using su
11.12.2019 | Nanyang Technological University
In a joint experimental and theoretical work performed at the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, an international team of physicists detected for the first time an orbital crossing in the highly charged ion Pr⁹⁺. Optical spectra were recorded employing an electron beam ion trap and analysed with the aid of atomic structure calculations. A proposed nHz-wide transition has been identified and its energy was determined with high precision. Theory predicts a very high sensitivity to new physics and extremely low susceptibility to external perturbations for this “clock line” making it a unique candidate for proposed precision studies.
Laser spectroscopy of neutral atoms and singly charged ions has reached astonishing precision by merit of a chain of technological advances during the past...
The ability to investigate the dynamics of single particle at the nano-scale and femtosecond level remained an unfathomed dream for years. It was not until the dawn of the 21st century that nanotechnology and femtoscience gradually merged together and the first ultrafast microscopy of individual quantum dots (QDs) and molecules was accomplished.
Ultrafast microscopy studies entirely rely on detecting nanoparticles or single molecules with luminescence techniques, which require efficient emitters to...
Graphene, a two-dimensional structure made of carbon, is a material with excellent mechanical, electronic and optical properties. However, it did not seem suitable for magnetic applications. Together with international partners, Empa researchers have now succeeded in synthesizing a unique nanographene predicted in the 1970s, which conclusively demonstrates that carbon in very specific forms has magnetic properties that could permit future spintronic applications. The results have just been published in the renowned journal Nature Nanotechnology.
Depending on the shape and orientation of their edges, graphene nanostructures (also known as nanographenes) can have very different properties – for example,...
Using a clever technique that causes unruly crystals of iron selenide to snap into alignment, Rice University physicists have drawn a detailed map that reveals...
University of Texas and MIT researchers create virtual UAVs that can predict vehicle health, enable autonomous decision-making
In the not too distant future, we can expect to see our skies filled with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) delivering packages, maybe even people, from location...
03.12.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
11.12.2019 | Materials Sciences
11.12.2019 | Information Technology
11.12.2019 | Life Sciences