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Intelligence, complexity, and individuality in sheep
Animal Sentience
  • Lori Marino, Kimmela Center
  • Debra Merskin, University of Oregon
Publication Date

Domestic sheep (Ovis aries) are among the earliest animals domesticated for human use. They are consumed worldwide as mutton, hogget, and lamb, kept as wool and milk producers, and used extensively in scientific research. The popular stereotype is that sheep are docile, passive, unintelligent, and timid, but a review of the research on their behavior, affect, cognition, and personality reveals that they are complex, individualistic, and social.

Author Biography

Lori Marino, neuroscientist, former faculty affiliate at the Emory Center for Ethics, President of the Whale Sanctuary Project, and Executive Director of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy, has written over 130 publications on dolphin and whale brain evolution and anatomy; intelligence and self-awareness; and the effects of captivity on social mammals, including cetaceans, elephants and primates. She worked with the Nonhuman Rights Project and is featured in the films Blackfish and Unlocking The Cage. Website

Debra Merskin is Professor of media studies in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. Her research focuses on how the media and popular press represent animals, resulting in species stereotypes, and how these portrayals affect the lived experiences of real animals. Her most recent book is Seeing Species: Re-Presentations of Animals in the Media & Popular Culture (2018, Peter Lang). Website

Citation Information
Lori Marino and Debra Merskin. "Intelligence, complexity, and individuality in sheep" (2019)
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