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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
- 10 April 2014 11:44 am , Vol. 344 , #6180
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ScienceShot: Tropical Lizards Get Brainy
12 July 2011 7:01 pm
Tropical lizards may have tiny brains, but they're quick learners. In a new study, researchers placed a block containing two wells, one covered by a blue disk, in front of the tropical arboreal lizard Anolis evermanni. The reptiles quickly learned that the blue disk covered a tasty fly larva, and even when the team tried to confuse them by placing a yellow disk or a blue disk with a yellow perimeter on the second, empty well, only one lizard out of four made a mistake over six trials. The lizards also needed at least three fewer practice runs to learn the task than did song sparrows and other bird species performing comparable tasks in other studies, the researchers report online today in Biology Letters. What's more, the lizards developed two strategies to dislodge the disk: They either bit the edge or used their snouts as levers. The team says this problem-solving behavior was completely unexpected because lizards have never before been observed using these strategies in the wild. The findings suggest that the lizards may be as smart as birds and some mammals—at least when it comes to snatching a snack.
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