Sheeps’ emotions are not a baarmy idea after all
THEY may hide it well, but sheep experience a wide range of emotions just like us. Now scientists have come up with a way to tell if a sheep is happy or sad – by using futuristic facial recognition technology.
While it seems a baarmy idea, the device can be used to detect pain and alert farmers to diseases among their flock. The technology was first developed for use on people, but researchers from Cambridge University realised that it could be used to decipher emotions in animals too.
It is hoped that face scanners could be placed at water troughs to automatically detect when a sheep is suffering from foot rot and mastitis, a painful udder infection. It has been suggested that sheep hide their emotions, as showing they are ill would make them a target for predators.
But when a sheep is in pain, five things happen to its face. Its eyes narrow, its cheeks tighten, its ears fold forwards, its lips pull down and back, and its nostrils change from a U to a V-shape.
Professor Peter Robinson, of Cambridge University, said: “A lot of the earlier work on the faces of animals was actually done by Darwin, who argued that all humans and many animals show emotion through remarkably similar behaviours, so we thought there would likely be crossover between animals and our work in human faces.” – Daily Mail