Friday, January 04, 2008

Tracking Whale Sharks with Facial Recognition Software

Too bad criminals don't have visible spots and stripes like our gentle, giant friends. From the New York Times:

Facial recognition software holds great promise, but the jury is still out on how effective it is now. The software, which compares patterns from an electronic image of a face to a database of images, hasn't proved particularly good at picking criminals out of a crowd, for instance.

But an Australian scientist is having better luck with software that can identify individual whale sharks. It doesn't analyze shark faces, but rather individual patterns of spots and stripes on the fish's skin.


In a paper to be published this month in the journal Ecological Applications, the researchers report repeat sightings of many individual sharks from year to year, suggesting that the shark population, in that part of the ocean at least, is healthy.

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