Incubation environment impacts the social cognition of adult lizards

Siviter, Harry, Deeming, D. Charles, van Giezen, M. F. T. and Wilkinson, Anna (2017) Incubation environment impacts the social cognition of adult lizards. Royal Society Open Science, 4 (11). p. 170742. ISSN 2054-5703

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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.

Keywords:Incubation, Lizard, Oviparous, Social cognition, Social learning, Gaze following
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D300 Animal Science
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
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ID Code:31025
Deposited On:22 Mar 2018 12:45

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