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Nature. 2001 Nov 8;414(6860):165-6.

Sheep don't forget a face.

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Laboratory of Cognitive and Developmental Neuroscience, Babraham Institute, Cambridge CB2 4AT, UK.

Erratum in

  • Nature. 2007 May 17;447(7142):346.


The human brain has evolved specialized neural mechanisms for visual recognition of faces, which afford us a remarkable ability to discriminate between, remember and think about many hundreds of different individuals. Sheep also recognize and are attracted to individual sheep and humans by their faces, as they possess similar specialized neural systems in the temporal and frontal lobes for assisting in this important social task, including a greater involvement of the right brain hemisphere. Here we show that individual sheep can remember 50 other different sheep faces for over 2 years, and that the specialized neural circuits involved maintain selective encoding of individual sheep and human faces even after long periods of separation.

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