Sheep are social animals that can recognise other sheep as well as familiar humans.
Little is known, however, about their holistic face-processing abilities.
We trained eight sheep to recognise the front-on-faces of four celebrities from photographs.
We then tested whether the sheep could recognise the four celebrity faces when presented in different perspectives – an ability only studied in humans.
Sheep successfully recognised the four celebrity faces from tilted images.
We furthermore asked whether sheep could recognise a very familiar handler from photographs, which they indeed can do without retraining.
These data show that sheep have face-recognition abilities, comparable to those of humans and non-human primates.
Source: The Royal Society