Factors impacting cognition and cognitive performance in reptiles

Nagabaskaran, Gokulan (2020) Factors impacting cognition and cognitive performance in reptiles. Masters thesis, University of Lincoln.

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Factors impacting cognition and cognitive performance in reptiles
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Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
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Abstract

Reptilian cognition is a field that requires additional investigation, because the level of detail pales in comparison to models such as mammals and birds. However, in a handful of studies, reptiles have displayed cognitive abilities that are similar to amniotes, with evidence in a wide range of cognitive assessments. Further, studies have demonstrated that they are affected by differences in the environment, especially during early development with profound effects on cognition and behaviour. However, little is known about the impact that the environment has on cognition in adult reptiles, therefore we investigated whether environmental enrichment affected snakes within a short treatment duration. In our second study we investigated whether corn snakes, red-footed tortoises and bearded dragons could recognize artificial odours when passively presented within their environment, while assessing recognition at multiple time points to gauge short- and long-term memory.

Our first study demonstrated that snakes could discriminate between objects and human odours when housed in an enriched environment, while snakes kept in standard housing could not. The second set of studies revealed that both snakes and tortoises could recognize artificial scents for 30 minutes and 24hrs respectively, which indicates evidence of both short- and long-term memory. However, the bearded dragons were unable to complete the task because of inactivity suggesting that our specific methods were not necessarily applicable across difference species. Overall, reptiles have demonstrated they are quite similar to mammals and birds in the sense of cognitive abilities, and their responses to proper environmental enrichment. Therefore, future studies should investigate reptilian housing in greater detail, with emphasis on cognitive stimulation and species-specific enrichment stimuli to maintain healthy individuals, as numerous studies have previously done with both mammals and birds.

Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:47818
Deposited On:18 Jan 2022 10:35

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