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Newly discovered lizard skull is “perplexing” Its place in Tree of Life uncertain

So the “tree of life” is now a “forest of possibilities.” Researcher: The case of where exactly to put the perplexing lizard highlights an important lesson for paleontologists: just because a specimen fits in one place doesn't mean that it won't fit equally well into another. Read More ›

Yes, Even Lizards Can Be Smart

If you catch them at the right time. But can we give machines what the lizard has by nature? We sometimes assume that reptiles cannot be as smart as mammals because they are exothermic (cold-blooded) rather than endothermic (warm-blooded), and the brain is a high metabolic area. Here, though, we find some surprises. Reptiles lack some brain structures found in mammals but they can use what they’ve got for behavior that we would describe as intelligent: Crocodilians (alligators and crocodiles) have been reported to use sticks as decoys, play, and work in teams. Exothermy slows intelligence but does not absolutely prevent it: Anole lizards were found as capable as tits (birds) in a problem-solving test for a food reward. But the anoles, being exothermic, don’t need Read More ›