Sheep are very smart according to new research
Sheep are raised in herds because of selfish behavior and not because they are “stupid”, according to a study by the University of London Veterinary School.
The study looked at the response of sheep when they feel threatened by a sheepdog, and as it was found the haired animals prefer to be safely in the center of the herd rather than accidentally scattered.
The findings dispel the myth that sheep follow each other blindly when threatened.
On the contrary, the research argues that an animal targeted for prey will approach as many other species of the species as possible in the hope that one of them will be eaten.
For the purpose of the research, British scientists attached GPS devices to the back of 46 sheep and a sheepdog on a farm in South Australia.
Researchers recorded the movements of sheep grazing three times.
As the animals found, they began to gather when the shepherd was 70 meters away.
As the herd moved as a whole, each sheep displayed competitive behavior, trying to reach the center as closely as possible.
As explained by the study leader, Dr. Andrew King, approaching the center of the flock of a sheep reduces his chances of being attacked by predators, as the easy victims are those on the outside.
“Our experiments show that sheep take seriously the position of ‘multiple neighbors’ in order to move towards the center,” the researcher said.