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Cognition Egernia Publications Sociality

What tree skinks know about change: A story in colour and shape

Note from Martin Whiting: This blog posts details a chapter of Birgit Szabo’s PhD recently published in Animal Behaviour and represents an enormous amount of work. Birgit did a 9-month cognition experiment, which could be the longest lizard cognition experiment thus far conducted. (Let us know if it isn’t!) The work is in collaboration with […]

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Behaviour Cognition Egernia Publications Social intelligence Sociality Tree skink project

Tree skinks go to school: The complexities of social learning in lizards

By: Fonti Kar & Julia Riley “Never study an animal that is smarter than you” – Dr Martin Whiting Animals learn about their environment and use what they have learnt while foraging, to increase mating success, avoid predators, and overall increase their chances of survival. An animal can learn by themselves, but this can be […]

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Egernia Sociality Tree skink project

Hot off the press! Roommates are not all they’re cracked up to be (if you’re a lizard)

Recently, myself and collaborators published our study that found – social experience has a crucial role in development of a family-living lizard. We also discovered that despite their social nature, the Australian tree skink (Egernia striolata) does not necessarily thrive in a ‘share-house’ environment. Group- and family-living animals, like humans, birds, and mammals, tend not […]

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Cognition Tree skink project

Julia Riley interviewed on ABC radio!

Take a listen to Julia Riley discussing our latest publication on the influence of social environment on learning in tree skinks (Egernia striolata). The interview was with Marc Fennell on ABC radio. This work, led by Julia, has been published in Animal Cognition: Riley, JL., Noble, DWA., Byrne, RW., Whiting, MJ. 2016. Does social environment […]

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Cognition Egernia Herpetology Publications Social behaviour Tree skink project

Skinks and Ladders: A family-living lizard’s learning ability is not affected by their home environment

By Julia Riley A family-living lizard’s ability to navigate through a complex maze is not linked to how they were raised We have found that the learning ability of the Tree Skink, a lizard that lives with family, is not linked to growing up with others. These lizards were able to learn to navigate a […]

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Egernia Social behaviour Sociality Tree skink project

Awesome new mini-documentary on Julia Riley’s PhD and social lizards!

Lizard Lab associate and honorary member Dr. James O’Hanlon has produced a fantastic mini-documentary about Julia Riley’s PhD work on tree skinks (Egernia striolata) and family living. The documentary offers some great views of our Albury study site and the amazing lizards! It asks the question why are animals social, and talks about what we […]

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Cane toad cognition Cognition Lab news Social behaviour Tree skink project

Lizard Lab launches new Behaviour and Cognition Centre!

We have acquired an amazing new indoor space in which we can study lizard and toad behaviour and cognition. We have a small room for a Morris Water Maze for studying spatial cognition (ably set up by Jodie Gruber), a much larger room with lots of shelves and CCTV where we are currently working on […]

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Behaviour Dispatches from the field Lab news Social behaviour Tree skink project

Dispatches from the field: the social lizard landscape (Albury, New South Wales)

Part I By Martin Whiting This post is long-overdue! Here, we are reporting on two field trips to our new study site in Albury, in New South Wales, close to the border with Victoria. In December of last year, Martin, Dan and Geoff While (University of Tasmania) went on a field trip to establish a […]

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Dispatches from the field Lab news Social behaviour Tree skink project

Dispatches from the field: South Australia tree skink reconnaissance

By Julia Riley The Tree Skink (Egernia striolata) field crew has just returned from fieldwork in South Australia. We (Julia, James, Martin and Dan) were checking out two new field sites for potential long-term monitoring of social systems. Our trip began by flying to Adelaide, and even though it was Good Friday Adelaide ended up […]