ScientificAmerican.com - Full Article
By Susanne Bard on May 5, 2020
Horses picked out photographs of their current keepers, and even of former keepers whom they had not seen in months, at a rate much better than chance.
We recognize our friends’ faces. And we’re not alone. Many social animals can identify individuals of their own species by their facial features. That’s important, because they need to be able to adjust their behavior depending on who they encounter. And research has shown that some species of monkeys, birds and domesticated animals can even distinguish among different faces by looking at photographs alone.
Scientists have also wondered whether domesticated animals that have coexisted with people for thousands of years can recognize different human faces. For example, we’ve shared more than 5,000 years of our history with horses. Plus, they can live up to 30 years and may need to retain a great deal of information about us throughout their lifetimes.
Ethologist Léa Lansade of the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment did an experiment to find out how well horses can recognize individual people in photographs...
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