Sheep Can be Taught to Recognise Celebrities

By Gary Cutlack on at

Scientists pretending to be doing something important have been caught out messing around with animal brains instead, with a team at Cambridge University eschewing traditional research to see if a sheep can be made to click on Emma Watson in return for getting a food pellet.

And guess what? They can, at least 80 per cent of the time. The team used photos of Barack Obama, Emma Watson, Jake Gyllenhaal and TV's Fiona Bruce, and taught the beasts to prod the photos with their noses in return for food -- much like the way humans have been taught to click on hearts on social media for fleeting feelings of community engagement.

There is of course a proper reason for putting sheep in the lab and university lecturers being caught with so many photos of Emma Watson in their internet history folder, as the researchers think it may come in handy for working out ways of treating neurodegenerative brain diseases that impact on our ability to recognise faces. [Cambridge University via Sky News]