Sheep pine for absent friends: official [The Register]

by Limbic on August 26, 2004

“The Cambridge University team which discovered that sheep prefer happy, smiley people has once again pushed back the envelope of ovine understanding with the revelation that sheep cheer up when they see snaps of friends and relatives.

According to the Telegraph (registration required), team supremo professor Keith Kendrick reckons that “seeing a face picture of a friend or family member would be the most effective way of reducing separation anxiety”.

The Cambridge sheep worriers proved this by locking their guinea sheep in a darkened barn and showing them various faces. Stress was monitored noting “the number of times each sheep bleated, its movement within the barn and its heart rate”. This being real science, the sheeps’ levels of cortisol and adrenaline were also recorded.

The results of the experiment were apparently significant: “When the sheep were shown faces of sheep familiar to them, they became less stressed and showed fewer signs of agitation than when they were shown goat faces or triangles. The areas of the brain which control fear and the stress response also showed reduced activation,” the paper reports.” MORE

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