1500 Sheep jump to their deaths/ How on earth?

Here’s a news story I just read, I’ll paste it in, and also provide a link.

1500 sheep juumped off a cliff because the first one did, and the rest all followed suit.

2 Questions:

  1. Is this story real?
  2. If it is, how on earth could this possibly happen?

Here’s the story:
***ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) - First one sheep jumped to its death. Then stunned Turkish shepherds, who had left the herd to graze while they had breakfast, watched as nearly 1,500 others followed, each leaping off the same cliff, Turkish media reported Friday.

CrazyfFoo. I’ve deleted some of what you copied. This is against the law to copy too much of a copyrighted article. Small snippets are OK.

samclem. GQ moderator

Well there’s your answer. :slight_smile:

  1. Seems to be. A Google news search reveals that usually-reputable wire services like Reuters and AP are running the story.

  2. No idea.

[python]Sheep don’t fly so much as they plummet…[/python]

I guess you missed this thread.

My favorite line from that story:

For some reason, 1050 sheep harmlessly bouncing off a huge fluffy pile of wool strikes my funny bone.

What sound does a falling sheep make?
Thinking of Johnny Carson’s famous Carnac: Sis-boom-baa.
What sound does an exploding sheep make?

My understanding is that sheep are not among nature’s brightest creatures.

Come on, admit it- if a cliff suddenly appeared at the entrance of Disney Land, pretty much the same thing would probably happen.

Baa. Baa. Baa.

That’ll teach those humans to enslave us. :wink:

I think that domesticated sheep have only two brain cells. :wink:

Seriously, sheep have been bred to be docile and tractable over the millenia, which has meant breeding out (largely) the instincts that would govern “independent thinking.” When I was doing field work in South Australia, I had plenty of opportunities to observe sheep, and I was always struck by how they largely did things en masse and without apparent forethought. All it took was one sheep to make a move, and the rest would follow.

Once I watched a mob of sheep run up to a watering trough that was fenced on three sides. Instead of sweeping around to the unfenced side, they literally came to a crashing halt against one of the fences and stood there for several minutes. The sheep finally made it to the trough when one of them discovered a hole in the adjacent fenced side, all the rest piled through behind him. They later left the same way.

I heard the story in the OP, and I have to admit I laughed. I have no problem seeing one sheep take a flying leap, and the others following because… that’s what sheep do.

One day at rush hour I got off a subway train onto a particularly narrow platform packed with people, all slowly shuffling towards the stairs to go up to street level. When some wit in the crowd started to say “baaaa, baaaa,” everyone else on the platform cracked up. :smiley:

When I was in veterinary school, I went to a large sheep farm that had a problem with respiratory disease in a few sheep in a group of around one hundred animals. The farmer sent his sons out to chase the sheep into a large barn. As the sheep were running by us, the veterinarian asked the farmer to point out the sick ones (so that we could examine them). One of the sheep dropped over dead as it ran by us. The farmer never missed a beat, just pointed and casually said, “that’s one of them there.”.

Typical sheep behaviour.

Could this be in any way similar to Whales beaching themselves? Or maybe an extreme migratory tactic, after all 1000 of the sheep succesfully got over the cliff without dieing.

Sheep, cows, and turkeys head the list of the world’s stupidest animals, IMHO. I’ve seen sheep suffocate after twenty or so piled into a corner that wouldn’t hold five of them. It has always puzzled me how lambs and calves could be so cute and playful and then grow up to be the most unimaginative, paranoid and just flat out stupid adult animals they are.

Was that at Masabaah?

Hey, Nevzat!!

We’re havin’ lambchops for chow tonight.

Bring the mint jelly!

Domestic sheep and turkeys. Their wild ancestors were, if not genuinely intelligent, at least very wiley. (Oxen and buffalo are just dumb as rocks, though.)

Sort of like Fascists? :wink:


Ever heard the phrase “follow like sheep?” Now you know where it comes from.

Strong herd instinct.

I can believe it. I once watched my Uncle feed his flock of sheep. He poured the feed in two troughs, one at each side of the sheep pen. It didn’t take the sheep long to empty the troughs. What happened next was interesting. A large number of the sheep started running between the two troughs. Their little brains seemed to be running a program that said “if trough is empty, run to other trough”. This went on for a long time.