Science News

Australian lizards show unusual intelligence at an early age

A group of researchers analyzed the behavior of a species of lizard, the eastern lizard with a blue tongue, endemic to Australia, making interesting discoveries. This lizard (Tiliqua scincoides) is common in the eastern Australian area and can be found on scrubland but also in suburban areas.

Its main characteristic is its language with particular colors: it can vary from bright blue to dark blue. The animal also tends to show it often in a very prominent way to hiss. Adults can reach a length of 600 mm and can boast a skin covered with hard scales as well as a very powerful bite. However, the little ones, who cannot yet boast this protection and a very effective bite, are very vulnerable.

Moreover, for a typical behavior of this species, the little ones cannot rely on any protection, even on that of their parents. This means that they must rely above all on themselves and on their level of intelligence.

It is precisely this characteristic that the researchers Birgit Szabo and Martin Whiting of Macquarie University, Australia, assisted by colleagues from other universities, have done their own study highlighting how intelligent they can be from an early age.

The researchers performed experiments on various adults and various young specimens of these lizards. The youngest specimens were aged between 26 and 56 days.

In all tests, the youngest specimens, even those born a few weeks old, showed the same level of intelligence and resourcefulness as adults and this confirms the fact that this lizard learns everything it takes to survive from the very first days and essentially without the contribution of adults.

Irena Baker

I majored in English at Florida International University and am an intern for The Villages Daily Sun (thevillagesdailysun.com). I joined Bridgestone News Room as a volunteer contributor and thoroughly enjoy writing and researching stories to publish here. While my educational background is not in STEM, I have held a lifelong interest in the world of science and frequently read science magazines including Scientific American and Nature.

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Irena Baker