Artificial intelligence used to recognize primate faces in the wild

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Scientists at the University of Oxford have developed new Artificial Intelligence software to recognise and track the faces of individual chimpanzees in the wild. The new software will allow researchers and wildlife conservationists to significantly cut back on time and resources spent analysing video footage, according to the new paper published today in Science Advances.

‘For species like chimpanzees, which have complex social lives and live for many years, getting snapshots of their behaviour from short-term field research can only tell us so much,’ says Dan Schofield, researcher and DPhil student at Oxford University’s Primate Models Lab, School of Anthropology. ‘By harnessing the power of machine learning to unlock large video archives, it makes it feasible to measure behaviour over the long term, for example observing how the social interactions of a group change over several generations.’

The computer model was trained using over 10 million images from Kyoto University’s Primate Research Institute (PRI) video archive of wild chimpanzees in Guinea, West Africa. The new software is the first to continuously track and recognise individuals in a wide range of poses, performing with high accuracy in difficult conditions such as low lighting, poor image quality and motion blur.

‘Access to this large video archive has allowed us to use cutting edge deep neural networks to train

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