In science, the phenomenon of simultaneous discovery, or "multiple independent discovery," is well known. The term describes how two or more researchers often independently discover the same idea, at around the same time. For instance, both Newton and Leibniz came up with the idea of calculus in the late 17th century, and both Darwin and Wallace developed the concept of evolution by natural selection in the mid-19th century.
An example of this phenomenon might have recently occurred in the field of sheep poetry. Though whether it's simultaneous discovery or idea theft depends on whom you believe.
In 2002, Valerie Laws came up with the concept of "Quantum Sheep" or "haik-ewe." Her idea was to spray paint a different word on the backs of 15 sheep, and then watch them as they grazed in a field to see what poems would they would form. Then, last year, artist Alison Cooper came up with the same idea, though she called it "Write to Roam."
Cooper insists she was completely unaware of Laws' previous work, but Laws thinks it's more likely Cooper stole her idea, either consciously or subconsciously. Who to believe? Perhaps someone should ask the sheep what they think. [journallive.co.uk]