Hotter nests produce smarter young lizards

Joshua J. Amiel, Richard Shine

Abstract

A hatchling reptile's sex, body size and shape, and locomotor performance can be influenced not only by its genes, but also by the temperature that it experiences during incubation. Can incubation temperature also affect a hatchling's cognitive skills? In the scincid lizard Bassiana duperreyi, higher incubation temperatures enhanced the resultant hatchling's learning performance. Hence, factors such as maternal nest-site selection and climate change affect not only the size, shape and athletic abilities of hatchling reptiles, but also their ability to learn novel tasks.

  • Received November 25, 2011.
  • Accepted December 14, 2011.
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