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Horses can make facial expressions just like humans

It is apparent that horses have an extensive range of facial movements. There is growing evidence to suggest that animals do indeed communicate intentionally, not just with each other, but with humans as well.

BIANCA BRITTON: ‘It turns out horses are capable of pulling faces just like humans, which may shed more light on what they’re feeling. In fact, horses can make 17 facial movements — which is at least three more than our relatives, the chimpanzees, and just 10 less than humans. In order to try and identify whether horses can pull more than just a long face, researchers at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom created the Equine Facial Action Coding System (EquiFACS) to determine any discrete expressions made by horses… “It’s a nice system because it’s an objective anatomical base code system that anybody can use,” said Anne Burrows, a professor at Duquesne University in Pennsylvania who was involved in the study…

The domestication of horses around 5,000 years ago could have dramatically influenced the social, cognitive and morphological characteristics of the animal, as explained in the report which was published on PLOS One in 2015. “Surprisingly their (horses) use of facial expressions has been largely overlooked,” the study said. “It was previously thought that humans possessed the most complex repertoire of facial expressions and that, in phylogenetic terms, the further away an animal was from humans, the more rudimentary their use of facial expressions would be. However, through the development of EquiFACS it is apparent that horses have an extensive range of facial movements.” Burrows says that there is growing evidence to suggest that animals do indeed communicate intentionally, not just with each other — but with humans as well’. SOURCE…

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