Feeds

Sheep as smart as humans: Official

El Reg lamb cutlet chef begs to differ

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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? ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS
Crumb? Pixel? ALIEN? Better, it's a comet-catcher!
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.