Further to “Why doesn’t anyone confront researchers about made-up claims about animal cognition?,” from Paul Rincon at BBC:
Cambridge University researchers were able to train sheep to identify the faces of actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Emma Watson, former US President Barack Obama and BBC newsreader Fiona Bruce.
After training, the sheep chose photos of familiar faces over unfamiliar ones significantly more often than not.
It shows that sheep possess similar face recognition abilities to primates. More.
How about this?: Sheep could learn to identify any human body part if they needed to. That doesn’t mean they understand what faces mean to humans. But much science writing about animal minds today seems to depend on maintaining just this type of confusion.
See also: “Why doesn’t anyone confront researchers about made-up claims about animal cognition?”. If animals thought rationally, they would consciously know the abstractions that always elude them: death, hope, justice… We’d notice that they did. We wouldn’t be doing casuistical tests or offering casuistical arguments. Or offering anecdotes or moralizing.
Claim: Whales and dolphins have rich ‘human-like’ cultures and societies
Intelligence tests are unfair to apes
Are apes entering the Stone Age?
What can we hope to learn about animal minds?