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Pigeons using facial recognition software?

Ok, so they are not using software, but recent studies being done in Europe suggest that pigeons have the natural ability to recognize facial features.

New research has shown that feral, untrained pigeons can recognize individual people and are not fooled by a change of clothes. Researchers have shown that urban pigeons that have never been caught or handled can recognize individuals, probably by using facial characteristics.

In a park in Paris city centre, pigeons were fed by two researchers, of similar build and skin colour, wearing different coloured lab coats. One individual simply ignored the pigeons, allowing them to feed while the other was hostile, and chased them away. This was followed by a second session when neither chased away the pigeons.
The experiment, which was repeated several times, showed that pigeons were able to recognize the individuals and continued to avoid the researcher who had chased them away even when they no longer did so. Swapping lab coats during the experiments did not confuse the pigeons and they continued shun the researcher who had been initially hostile.
“It is very likely that the pigeons recognized the researchers by their faces, since the individuals were both female and of a similar age, build and skin colour,” says Dr. Dalila Bovet a co-author of this work from the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense. “Interestingly, the pigeons, without training, spontaneously used the most relevant characteristics of the individuals (probably facial traits), instead of the lab coats that covered 90% of the body.”
The fact that the pigeons appeared to know that clothing colour was not a good way of telling humans apart suggests that the birds have developed abilities to discriminate between humans in particular. This specialized ability may have come about over the long period of association with humans, from early domestication to many years of living in cities.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2011-07-pigeons.html