Gaze following in the red-footed tortoise (Geochelone carbonaria)

Wilkinson, Anna, Mandl, Isabella, Bugnyar, Thomas and Huber, Ludwig (2010) Gaze following in the red-footed tortoise (Geochelone carbonaria). Animal Cognition, 13 (5). pp. 765-769. ISSN 1435-9448

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Gaze following refers to the ability of an animal to orient its gaze direction to that of another organism. Such a behavior may be adaptive as it alerts the observer to important objects in the environment such as food or predators. This behavior has been shown in mammals and birds, but the evolutionary history and the distribution of this behavior throughout the animal kingdom remain unclear. Here, we show that a reptile, the red-footed tortoise (Geochelone carbonaria), is able to follow the gaze of a conspecific in a lookup task. Controls revealed that neither the mere presence of a conspecific nor the presentation of a light stimulus (without a demonstrator present) controlled the tortoises' behavior. The findings indicate that the ability to follow gaze may be found in mammals, birds and reptiles and could have evolved before the amniotic line diverged, or may result from a general ability to learn. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

Keywords:animal, article, eye fixation, female, head movement, male, photostimulation, physiology, turtle, Animals, Fixation, Ocular, Head Movements, Photic Stimulation, Turtles, Animalia, Aves, Geochelone carbonaria, Mammalia, Reptilia, Testudines, Testudinidae
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D300 Animal Science
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:9120
Deposited On:23 Apr 2013 15:48

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