Warming temperatures may be first step towards reptile take-over

Increased incubation temperatures make smarter lizards.

As climate change alters the temperatures of reptile habitats around the globe, tests of one lizard species suggests warmer nests could make some reptiles smarter.

When researchers incubated the eggs of Bassiana duperreyi, a mountain-dwelling Australian skink, at warmer-than-usual temperatures, they grew up to perform especially well on a learning task.

As global temperatures continue to shift, Amiel thinks some reptile species living in warming climates may become innately smarter. In cooling climates, they could become less intelligent.

The mechanism by which intelligence shifts is unclear, but Amiel suspects warm temperatures alter the production of hormones that regulate reptilian brain development.

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