Climate change may be making bearded dragons less intelligent

November 22, 2017 by Bob Yirka, Phys.org report

Central bearded dragon. Credit: Greg Hume/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0
(Phys.org)—A team of researchers affiliated with the University of Lincoln in the U.K. has found evidence suggesting that as the planet heats up due to global warming, the bearded dragon may become less intelligent. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes exposing incubating bearded dragons to warmer than normal air temperatures and then testing their intelligence.

Over the past several years, scientists have been finding that creatures great and small are smarter than commonly assumed. This is the case for , the people-friendly reptile from Australia. Some studies have shown, for example, that they are able to note the behavior of their peers and then copy it if it offers a reward. Such behavior offers a means for testing the intelligence of individuals among a group.

To find out what impact rising temperatures might have on the bearded , the researchers incubated 13 eggs, seven in a warmer than normal 30 degrees Celsius nest and six at the normal 27 degrees C. After they hatched and grew older, the researchers tested the intelligence of all the lizards by exposing them to a video showing a bearded dragon opening a sliding door and then testing them to see if they could or would imitate the behavior for a reward—prior research showed that opening a screen door is something the lizards can only learn if they see another lizard do it first.

The researchers report that fewer of the that incubated in the warmer pens were able to mimic the lizard on the video than those that had incubated at normal temperatures—and those that did succeed did so at a much slower pace. This, the researchers suggest, indicates that as the planet warms, animals across the globe will be impacted in some unexpected ways. For the bearded dragon, it could spell serious trouble if they become less intelligent, making them less able to adapt to change. The researchers also note that their results are similar to those of researcher Jonathan Webb—he found that exposing geckos to warmer temperatures in the nest made them not only duller but less likely to survive once released into the wild.

A bearded dragon takes on a new task after watching video footage of another bearded dragon, and successfully opens the door to receive a food reward. Credit: University of Lincoln

Explore further: Bearded dragons change color on different body parts for social signals and temperature regulation

More information: Harry Siviter et al. Incubation environment impacts the social cognition of adult lizards, Royal Society Open Science (2017). DOI: 10.1098/rsos.170742

Abstract
Recent work exploring the relationship between early environmental conditions and cognition has shown that incubation environment can influence both brain anatomy and performance in simple operant tasks in young lizards. It is currently unknown how it impacts other, potentially more sophisticated, cognitive processes. Social-cognitive abilities, such as gaze following and social learning, are thought to be highly adaptive as they provide a short-cut to acquiring new information. Here, we investigated whether egg incubation temperature influenced two aspects of social cognition, gaze following and social learning in adult reptiles (Pogona vitticeps). Incubation temperature did not influence the gaze following ability of the bearded dragons; however, lizards incubated at colder temperatures were quicker at learning a social task and faster at completing that task. These results are the first to show that egg incubation temperature influences the social cognitive abilities of an oviparous reptile species and that it does so differentially depending on the task. Further, the results show that the effect of incubation environment was not ephemeral but lasted long into adulthood. It could thus have potential long-term effects on fitness.

Press release

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16 comments

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JamesG
5 / 5 (1) Nov 22, 2017
I know. My bearded dragons have been total idiots lately.
thingumbobesquire
1 / 5 (4) Nov 23, 2017
"Climate change may be making bearded dragons less intelligent"
And yet they are still smarter than climate change "scientists"
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Nov 23, 2017
@thingTROLL - let me fix that for you
And yet they are still smarter than climate change deniers
much more accurate now!

.

let me think about it...
@zeph
WTF?
i know this may be hard for you to understand but linking a chart that makes a claim about mammal IQ, specifically humans, while quoting specifics about colder temperatures for lizards, is like linking a picture of a donkey and saying it's why we should consider that Mercede's likely can't drive fast on autobahn's

the Pogona genus is of the subfamily Amphibolurinae in the lizard family Agamidae, which are tetrapod vertebrates.... IOW - not warm blooded mammals

http://tylervigen...ion?id=7
Porgie
1 / 5 (3) Nov 23, 2017
Its making liberals less intelligent.
snoosebaum
1 / 5 (2) Nov 23, 2017
we are going to die laughing ,,,
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (1) Nov 23, 2017
Is climate change causing it?
Or the beards...?
(cue the ominous music playing in background)
jonesdave
1.8 / 5 (4) Nov 23, 2017
Are bearded dragons more intelligent than Donald Trump? Not a difficult question, and should be answered in the affirmative.
leetennant
5 / 5 (4) Nov 23, 2017
Its making liberals less intelligent.


It's certainly exposing the IQ of Americans.

You do know that liberalism is a right wing philosophy, right? And that your US "liberals" are a centre-right party of liberal democrats (ergo, the Democrats). Your Republicans are ultra right wing and your Tea Party baggers are basically Hitler Youth.

Now that's established, what does a liberal democrat philosophy have to do with the science of climate change? Pretty much zilch.

So what is this comment even saying?

Is climate change causing it?
Or the beards...?
(cue the ominous music playing in background)


It's the beards, which are caused by chemtrails. if you look historically, bearded dragons were just dragons until the fascist libtards took over.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (1) Nov 23, 2017
Is climate change causing it?
Or the beards...?
(cue the ominous music playing in background)


It's the beards, which are caused by chemtrails. if you look historically, bearded dragons were just dragons until the fascist libtards took over.

Actually - it was fashion designers turned bio-ethicists, attempting to make them look more masculine, ergo, less like lunch to predators...
leetennant
5 / 5 (1) Nov 23, 2017
Is climate change causing it?
Or the beards...?
(cue the ominous music playing in background)


It's the beards, which are caused by chemtrails. if you look historically, bearded dragons were just dragons until the fascist libtards took over.

Actually - it was fashion designers turned bio-ethicists, attempting to make them look more masculine, ergo, less like lunch to predators...


Gender theory has finally gone mad!
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (1) Nov 23, 2017
AGW is certainly making the #climatecranks stupider and stupider.

Just sayin'.
snoosebaum
1 / 5 (2) Nov 23, 2017
antigoracle
1 / 5 (3) Nov 23, 2017
How "smart" must you AGW Chicken Littles be, to fall for this complete and utter bullshit?
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (2) Nov 23, 2017
There is something to be said for the reduced energy requirement of signal xfer in a cooler environment, tho...
leetennant
5 / 5 (3) Nov 23, 2017
There is something to be said for the reduced energy requirement of signal xfer in a cooler environment, tho...


Mister Shine, he diamond.

I seem to be in a rather silly mood. I think these idiot deniers have finally broken my brain.

Meanwhile, on topic, I had thought the biggest issue with reptiles and rising temperatures was sex differentiation. This is an issue with bearded dragons as well. I suspect cognitive decline is not the species' biggest problem once rising temps impact sex.
snoosebaum
1 / 5 (1) Nov 24, 2017
Where do all these bearded dragons work ? CNN? , i once had a prof who was a bearded dragon sorry to hear he's getting dumber.

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