AnimalWeb: A Large-Scale Hierarchical Dataset of Annotated Animal Faces
Several studies show that animal needs are often expressed through their faces. Though remarkable progress has been made towards the automatic understanding of human faces, this has not been the case with animal faces. There exists significant room for algorithmic advances that could realize automatic systems for interpreting animal faces. Besides scientific value, resulting technology will foster better and cheaper animal care. We believe the underlying research progress is mainly obstructed by the lack of an adequately annotated dataset of animal faces, covering a wide spectrum of animal species. To this end, we introduce a large-scale, hierarchical annotated dataset of animal faces, featuring 22.4K faces from 350 diverse species and 21 animal orders across biological taxonomy. These faces are captured 'in-the-wild' conditions and are consistently annotated with 9 landmarks on key facial features. The dataset is structured and scalable by design; its development underwent four systematic stages involving rigorous, overall effort of over 6K man-hours. We benchmark it for face alignment using the existing art under two new problem settings. Results showcase its challenging nature, unique attributes and present definite prospects for novel, adaptive, and generalized face-oriented CV algorithms. Further benchmarking the dataset across face detection and fine-grained recognition tasks demonstrates its multi-task applications and room for improvement. The dataset is available at: https://fdmaproject.wordpress.com/.