1. VOA Standard English
  2. VOA Standard English Archives
  1. Technology Report
  2. This is America
  3. Science in the News
  4. Health Report
  5. Education Report
  6. Economics Report
  7. American Mosaic
  8. In the News
  9. American Stories
  10. Words And Their Stories
  11. Trending Today
  12. AS IT IS
  13. Everyday Grammar
  14. America's National Parks
  15. America's Presidents
  16. Agriculture Report
  17. Explorations
  18. The Making of a Nation
  19. People in America
  1. Learning English Videos
  2. English in a Minute
  3. English @ the Movies
  4. News Words
  5. Everyday Grammar TV
  1. Bilingual News
  2. English in a Minute
  3. Learn A Word
  4. How to Say it
  5. Business Etiquette
  6. Words And Idioms
  7. American English Mosaic
  8. Popular American
  9. Sports English
  10. Go English
  11. Wordmaster
  12. American Cafe
  13. Intermediate American Enlish

Sheep Can Recognize Human Faces


23 November, 2017

University of Cambridge scientists have trained sheep to recognize the faces of famous people.

The scientists hope facial recognition may help with their understanding of neurodegenerative diseases.

The researchers showed the sheep pictures of people on two computer screens. One screen had an unknown person and the other had one of four famous people.

A picture taken from an undated video shows a sheep approaching a photo of Barack Obama during a Cambridge University experiment, in Cambridge, Britain.
A picture taken from an undated video shows a sheep approaching a photo of Barack Obama during a Cambridge University experiment, in Cambridge, Britain.

The animals were given food for choosing the photograph of the famous person. They chose the correct photograph by breaking an infrared beam near the flat surface showing the photo.

If they chose the wrong image, an electric signaling device would make a sound, and the sheep would receive no treat.

The sheep eventually were able to identify the famous face eight times out of every ten tries.

The group of famous personalities included actors Emma Watson and Jake Gyllenhaal, and former American president Barack Obama.

Professor Jenny Morton was the leader of the study. "We've shown that sheep have advanced face-recognition abilities, comparable with those of humans and monkeys," she noted.

The sheep were less successful when presented with the faces at a new angle or from a different direction. However, the researchers said the performance of the animals on this test was similar to the levels seen when humans took the test.

Scientists aim to use the sheep as models to study disorders of the brain, such as Huntington's disease. This disorder develops over a long period of time and affects the brain's ability to work.

I'm John Russell.

Mark Hanrahan reported on this story for the Reuters news agency. John Russell adapted his report for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

_______________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

infraredadj. producing or using rays of light that cannot be seen and that are longer than rays that produce red light

beam – n. a line of light coming from a source (such as the sun or a headlight)

screen – n. the surface on which the image appears on an electronic device

angle – n. the difference between the direction of two lines that come together

mr007