Panoptic animal pose estimators are zero-shot performers

Published on Mar 14, 2022


Animal pose estimation is critical in applications ranging from life science research, agriculture, to veterinary medicine. Compared to human pose estimation, the performance of animal pose estimation is limited by the size of available datasets and the generalization of a model across datasets. Typically different keypoints are labeled regardless of whether the species are the same or not, leaving animal pose datasets to have disjoint or partially overlapping keypoints. As a consequence, a model cannot be used as a plug-and-play solution across datasets. This reality motivates us to develop panoptic animal pose estimation models that are able to predict keypoints defined in all datasets. In this work we propose a simple yet effective way to merge differentially labeled datasets to obtain the largest quadruped and lab mouse pose dataset. Using a gradient masking technique, so called SuperAnimal-models are able to predict keypoints that are distributed across datasets and exhibit strong zero-shot performance. The models can be further improved by (pseudo) labeled fine-tuning. These models outperform ImageNet-initialized models.


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