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Horses smile like humans, research says

Horses smile like humans, research says

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According to a new study published in PLOS ONE, horse faces have great similarities to the human face. After dissecting a horse's head and analyzing its musculature and researching several horse videos, scientists have come to this conclusion.

This is not intuitive, as the facial shape of the two species is quite different. But in terms of expressions we are quite similar. The researchers used a system called Facial Action Coding (FAC), which quantitatively measures facial movement. While humans have 27 FACs (separate facial movements), chimpanzees have 13 FACs and 16 dogs. Horses, in turn, have 17 FACs, the number that comes closest to ours.

It is not yet known if this large repertoire of expressions is used for communication between animals themselves - but the fact is that the variety impressed the scientists responsible for the research. "One of the horses we looked at is raising the inside of its eyebrows, something humans do when they are surprised or sad," they told Time.

The 'smile' was also observed in the horses. For them, it is a gesture of submission to show their teeth - for us it is also a gesture of vulnerability if we reflect on it. And when they are afraid, horses also widen their eyes.