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Lori Marino and Debra Merskin, Intelligence, complexity, and individuality in sheep


More research has been carried out on social cognition in sheep than in other farm animal species. Although this has often been featured widely in the media, there is still limited public awareness of it. Marino & Merskin’s review is therefore both important and timely. In my commentary, I focus primarily on what has been established about the complexity of sheep social cognition, at the level of both brain and behavior, and on some of these findings for sheep welfare.

Author Biography

Keith Kendrick is professor of social neuroscience currently studying social dysfunction in autism at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China. Previously he spent over 20 years at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge studying sheep social cognition and demonstrated that they recognize each other visually from facial cues using specialized brain circuitry similar to that of humans. Website