How Smart is Your Sheep?

Strength of character and intelligence in sheep.

A refined and knowledgeable spokesherladyship for the National Sheep Association (U.K.) said: "Sheep are quite intelligent creatures and have more brainpower than people."


For example, sheep cross cattle grids by rolling on their backs, whilst humans and bovines still try to walk or jump, resulting in numerous injuries. Dogs, with their short legs, have ingeniously trained humans to carry them across but sheep are too heavy for this tactic.

It's a wrap!

But for the still skeptical:

Australian CSIRO studies corroborate these claims from maze testing, with amazing results from sheep tempted by maize. "We think it mazing" remarked the study's author Caroline Lee, PhD., who astutely concluded "Smarter sheep are more able to deal with the system" (though industry insiders believe this could have been due to harassment rather than scientific observation).

A series of sleep-deprivations studies revealed dreaming of shearing sheep denotes a season of profitable enterprises will shower down upon you; to dream of flocks of sheep engenders much rejoicing among farmers; dreaming of them looking scrapie, scraggy or sick means you will be thrown into despair by the miscarriage of some plan which promised rich returns.

Further more, dreaming of eating the flesh of sheep denotes that ill-natured persons (probably restaurateurs charging like wounded bulls) will outrage your feelings.

The CSIRO studies on 24-hour feedlots discovered that sheep experience reciprocal dreams involving humans.  

Homosexuality in male sheep (not that there's anything wrong with that) is associated with variations in cerebral mass distribution and chemical activity with approximately 10% of males homosexual. Whilst cross-dressing has not been observed, mutton has been seen dressed as lamb in lesser restaurants. And there's the clearly improbable reports of sheep in wolves' clothing. 

The gentle and timid disposition of sheep, and its defenceless condition, must very early have attached it to man for motives less selfish than either its fleece or its flesh, for it has been proved beyond a doubt that, obtuse as we generally regard them, are susceptible of a high degree of domesticity, obedience, and affection.

In many parts of Europe, where the flocks are guided by the tinny speakers carrying the shepherd's voice alone, it is no unusual thing for a sheep to quit the herd when called by its name, and follow the keeper like a dog.

In the mountains of Scotland, when a flock is invaded by a savage dog, the rams form the herd into a circle, and placing themselves on the outside line, keep the enemy at bay, or charging on him in a troop, and despatch him with their horns. 

When all is said and done, there are seven billion hungry humans, yet the world population of sheep is around 1.5 billion. So they're certainly smart enough to generally avoid extinction by casserole, unlike stupid creatures such as whales.

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