• Equine fa­cial ex­pres­sions an­a­lyzed

EQUUS - - Contents -

From pinned ears to a cocked hoof, the mes­sages horses con­vey through body lan­guage are well known. Now work is un­der­way in Eng­land to find out if they use their faces to com­mu­ni­cate as well.

Re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Sus­sex have de­vel­oped the Equine Fa­cial Ac­tion Cod­ing Sys­tem (EquiFACS) to clas­sify the fa­cial ex­pres­sions of horses. For­mu­lated based on ob­ser­va­tions of 86 horses, of var­i­ous ages and breeds, made us­ing high-tech video, the EquiFACS is an adap­ta­tion of a sys­tem orig­i­nally de­vel­oped for hu­mans and then mod­i­fied for use in other an­i­mals in­clud­ing chim­panzees, dogs and cats.

Through in-depth anal­y­sis of each horse’s fa­cial mus­cu­la­ture and char­ac­ter­is­tics dur­ing nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring be­hav­iors, the re­searchers doc­u­mented 17 dis­tinct and uni­ver­sal fa­cial move­ments, such as a “mouth stretch” and “nos­tril lift,” that may be used in com­mu­ni­ca­tion. By com­par­i­son, FACS have cat­a­loged 27 such move­ments in hu­man faces, 16 in dogs and 13 in chim­panzees.

The re­searchers hope the EquiFACS will pro­vide an ob­jec­tive method for de­scrib­ing the fa­cial ex­pres­sion in horses that will help peo­ple de­ter­mine when they are in pain or are feel­ing well.

Ref­er­ence: “EquiFACS: The Equine Fa­cial Ac­tion Cod­ing Sys­tem,” PLOS ONE, Au­gust 2015

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.