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Sheep are far smarter than previously thought...


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Sheep are widely regarded as some of the most dim-witted creatures in the animal kingdom, but new research has revealed they are far more intelligent than they have previously been given credit for.

They are an animal so apparently dim-witted that they have become a byword for stupidity and mindlessly following the crowd. New research, however, reveals that sheep are far more intelligent than they have been given credit for.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have found that the creatures have the brainpower to equal rodents, monkeys and, in some tests, even humans.

The results suggest that sheep have relatively advanced learning capabilities, are adaptable, can map out their surroundings mentally and may even be able to plan ahead....

The findings will surprise any motorist who has had to follow a stray sheep trying to escape oncoming traffic by running down the middle of a country road.

The animals' tendency to blindly follow the flock has led to sheep becoming enshrined in the English language as a description for unquestioningly doing what others are doing.

But professor Jenny Morton, a neuroscientist at University of Cambridge, said sheep had been greatly undervalued for their intelligence.

She said: "They have a reputation for being extremely dim and their flock behaviour backs that up as they are very silly animals when in a group – if there is a hole they will fall into it, if there is something to knock over, then they will knock it over.

"So I didn't expect them to be so amenable to testing and certainly didn't expect them to be so smart. In our tests they performed at a level very similar to monkeys and humans in the initial learning tasks.

"When we then changed the rules they still performed as well as monkeys and better than rodents.

"They are quite intelligent animals – they seem to be able to recognise people and even respond when you call their name."

"Sheep can perform executive cognitive tasks that have never been shown to exist in any other large animals apart from monkeys.

full article

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/8335465/Sheep-are-far-smarter-than-previously-thought.html

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After keeping sheep for many years...I agree they are highly intelligent.......they certainly recognise your face and voice and they have a knack of knowing how to escape, they are far from stupid :)

They are also kind and trusting, and good company :D

You can't walk with God while holding hands with the Devil.

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