Scientists discover 17 horse facial expressions, more than chimpanzees
Scientists at a British University, in collaboration with Duquesne University in Pennsylvania, have made a historic discovery, by identifying 17 discrete facial expressions that horses may use. They have compiled a directory of facial expressions called the Equine Facial Action Coding System (EquiFACS).
The expressions indicate a variety of emotions including mood, intention and even confusion. This is 3 more than than the expressions identified in chimpanzees, and one more than dogs. Human beings utilize 27 different ways of speaking using facial expressions.
"Horses and humans can both raise the skin above their eyes, which seems to happen in negative emotional states" said Jennifer Watham, a doctoral researched involved in the study.
Another example is the retraction of lip corners, which is believed to be a submissive gesture in horses. This discovery contributes to the debate on whether human domestication of animals effects the evolution of facial expressions.
We all knew that horses had lots of emotions, but this new discovery finally puts some science behind it! How many expressions does your horse have?