Feeds

Sheep as smart as humans: Official

El Reg lamb cutlet chef begs to differ

The next step in data security

A Cambridge Uni prof has provocatively suggested that sheep aren't actually as thick as a Fair Isle woollen sweater, and can match humans in the tricky task of identifying food amid a confusion of buckets.

Neuroboffin Jenny Morton herded a flock of Welsh mountain sheep and presented them with variously-coloured buckets, only one of which contained nosh.

Incredibly, the sheep were able to find nourishment in the same number of attempts it takes a monkey or a human, viz: seven.

Prof Morton said: "They have a reputation for being extremely dim, 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."

Traditional journalistic rigour demands that we cast a sceptical eye over this science-light report of Morton's findings in the Evening Standard and conduct an in-depth analysis of her methodology.

In this case, however, we're not going to bother, since we're pretty certain that if we sit a sheep in front of a Sudoku and suggest that if it solves the puzzle in less than 20 minutes it won't end up the oven, it'll be lamb cutlets at Vulture Central tonight.

And while we're licking the sheep fat from our fingers, we'd like to challenge Morton to answer one of the great questions of our age: are gay sheep more intelligent than their bovine counterparts, and are either smarter than homosexual flamingos? ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.