Feeds

Sheep pine for absent friends: official

Family snaps help relieve ovine 'separation anxiety'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

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?

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Drunkards warned: If you can't walk in a straight line, don't shop online, you fool!
Put it away boys. Cover them up ladies. Your credit cards, we mean
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Cops baffled by riddle of CHICKEN who crossed ROAD
'Officers were unable to determine Chicken's intent'
Murder accused DIDN'T ask Siri 'how to hide my roommate'
US court hears of cached browser image - not actual request
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Chomp that sausage: Brits just LOVE scoffing a Full Monty
Sales of traditional brekkie foods soar as hungry folk get their mitts greasy
Nuts to your poncey hipster coffees, I want a TESLA ELECTRO-CAFE
Examining the frothy disconnect in indie cafe culture
Ex-Apple man Sam Sung - for it is he - sticks namebadge on eBay
Stump up via tat bazaar, do a good thing for ill kids
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.