Feeds

Sheep pine for absent friends: official

Family snaps help relieve ovine 'separation anxiety'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

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.

The implications of these findings for humanity cannot be underestimated. The researchers conclude that: "These results provide evidence that face pictures may be useful for relieving stress caused by unavoidable social isolation in sheep, and possibly other animal species, including humans." Kendrick added: "In this sense sheep may provide a comparison with us carrying around pictures of loved ones in our wallets, handbags and so on."

So, to summarise, carrying around a pic of a loved one can help us stay more content, more rounded human beings. And the same goes for sheep who, while "apparently ruminating mindlessly, could be dwelling on long-absent flock mates, mothers or even shepherds". Yes, the image of a woolly lonesome pining for farmer Giles on some wind-swept Cumbrian hillside is an appealing one. We cannot help but feel that it is only a matter of time before the Cambridge boffins wow the world of science yet again with an eye-opening analysis of humano-ovine sexual yearning, and await the results with eager anticipation. ®

Related stories

Sheep like happy, smiley people: official
Inside the mind of the gay sheep
Could you be descended from a Shagger?

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Spanish village called 'Kill the Jews' mulls rebranding exercise
Not exactly attractive to the Israeli tourist demographic
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
Happy 40th Playmobil: Reg looks back at small, rude world of our favourite tiny toys
Little men straddle LOHAN, attend tiny G20 Summit... ah, sweet memories...
Forget the beach 'n' boardwalk, check out the Santa Cruz STEVE JOBS FOUNTAIN
Reg reader snaps shot of touching tribute to Apple icon
Lego is the TOOL OF SATAN, thunders Polish priest
New minifigs like Monster Fighters are turning kids to the dark side
Dark SITH LORD 'Darth Vader' joins battle to rule, er, Ukraine
Only I can 'make an empire out of a republic' intones presidential candidate
Chinese company counters pollution by importing fresh air
Citizens line up for bags of that sweet, sweet mountain air
Google asks April Fools: Want a job? Be our 'Pokemon Master'
Mountain View is prankin' like it's 1999...
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.