Facial recognition technology in the form of the latest software equipment is being used currently by scientists to identify lemurs.
Biology experts and computer scientists have teamed up to create some sophisticated software that can identify lemurs with extreme precision. This study was reported in the journal BMC Zoology recently.
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There exist more than a 100 species of lemurs on the island of Madagascar. Differentiating one from the other is a backbreaking task. Yet thanks to this technology, it will now be a cinch.
Termed LemurFaceID this software can pinpoint any particular type of lemur with close to 98.7% precision. This is a herculean task yet this software makes it look like it is a piece of cake.
The software was originally used in humans. Yet now it is being applied to lemurs as well. The scientists took photographs of wild red-bellied lemurs and then tested the results within the context of the software.
To identify these lemurs such differences between them as body size variability and scars and injuries were employed with accuracy. Several other small factors were used as well and the overall result was proper identification with remarkable ease.
The study of these lemurs over a lengthy period of time provides sufficient data to compile whole histories of them that will help in the identification process.
How they thrive in the wild, have offspring and take care of their young ones are crucial questions the answers to which need to be found.
The demographics and decimation in population levels are other vital statistics that need to be discerned from the background data. Since many of these lemurs are on the endangered species list, conservation efforts will have to be applied on a consistent basis.
The new software will provide a remedy for the limitations encountered up until now regarding lemur identification. While catching and tagging lemurs have been the usual methods applied up until now, they carry the hazards of being stressful for the lemurs and injuring them in the long run.
The software identification method is very economical and non-invasive to boot. Besides the 462 images of wild red-bellied lemurs, another 190 images of other species of lemurs were added to the pre-existing database.
Recognition of certain hair and skin features will help in the pinpointing of particular species. Also the differences between primates and non-primates will be a key outcome of this software technology.