This is an eastern blue-tongue lizard (Tiliqua scincoides) from Australia, and it is likely it was a very good student.
When Australian and Scottish researchers put a dozen adults and 16 juveniles (23 to 56 days) through a series of tasks designed to test their cognitive abilities, the young ones did as well as theirr elders on all of them.
And that, says Birgit Szabo from Australia’s Macquarie University, “indicates that the young learn at adult levels from a very early age”.
There is an element of necessity in all this, however.
Blue-tongues are on their own from the moment they are born. They get neither support nor protection from their folks, and also lack their size (up to 600 millimetres long), thick scales and a powerful bite. So they need to be street smart.
The study, published in the journal Animal Behaviour, is the first to directly compare adult and juvenile flexible learning in a reptile species, the researchers say.
Curated content from the editorial staff at Cosmos Magazine.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.