PhD opportunity: social intelligence and the evolution of brain size in lizards

We are looking for a PhD student to work on an Australian Research Council grant testing for social intelligence in Egernia skinks.

Here is some background: Uncovering the evolution of intelligence is one of science’s greatest challenges. Social intelligence theory suggests that sociality selects for increasingly sophisticated cognition, but this theory is heavily biased . . . → Read More: PhD opportunity: social intelligence and the evolution of brain size in lizards

Lizard Lab book club: Review of ‘How to make a zombie’

Review by James Baxter-Gilbert

How to Make a Zombie: The Real Life (and Death) Science of Reanimation and Mind Control by Frank Swain. 2013. 256 pp. Oneworld Publications. ISBN 978-1-85168-944-6. If the concept of population dynamics has taught us anything it is that whenever a population expands far beyond an ecosystem’s ability to sustain . . . → Read More: Lizard Lab book club: Review of ‘How to make a zombie’

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 . . . → Read More: Lizard Lab launches new Behaviour and Cognition Centre!

Lizard Lab book club: Review of Brilliant Blunders

Here is the second in our series of book reviews by members of the Lizard Lab.

Review by James Baxter-Gilbert

Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein – Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe. Mario Livio. 2013. Simon and Schuster. 352 pp. ISBN 1439192383, 9781439192382.

Trial and . . . → Read More: Lizard Lab book club: Review of Brilliant Blunders

Lizard Lab book reviews launched!

The Lizard Lab has a book club that we launched a few years ago to showcase what the lab was reading. We have now added a book reviews page and the first book review is posted below. Click on the Book Club tab (main menu bar) to learn more about what lab members are . . . → Read More: Lizard Lab book reviews launched!

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 . . . → Read More: Dispatches from the field: the social lizard landscape (Albury, New South Wales)

Freek Vonk visits the Lizard Lab

Freek Vonk is a Dutch scientist and nature documentary presenter. He and his crew have just wrapped season 1 of “Freek in Australia”. Part of this series consisted of a day at our lab filming cane toads and discussing our work on cognition followed by a trip to our water dragon site at Lane . . . → Read More: Freek Vonk visits the Lizard Lab

Dr. Daniel W.A. Noble

News flash: Dan Noble has finished his PhD! While Dan still has the official graduation ceremony in his future, we had a small signing ceremony in the lab. Dr. Keogh (Dan’s co-supervisor), brought a special pen from Canberra, the nation’s capital, just for this event. Dan’s thesis (dissertation in North American parlance) looks relatively . . . → Read More: Dr. Daniel W.A. Noble

A pilgrimage to Down House

Recently, Martin Whiting and Lizard Lab alumnus Pau Carazo made a pilgrimage to Down House, Charles Darwin’s family home where he wrote the Origin of Species and many of his other classic works and where he conducted many of his experiments. It was a highly memorable day, here are some photos.

. . . → Read More: A pilgrimage to Down House

Curious about the natural history of Australian lizards?

The Lizard Lab recently had the pleasure of a visit from Steve Wilson and he was kind enough to bring a few copies of his new book Australian Lizards: A Natural History. As Steve points out in the preface, we don’t hear people talking about lizards nearly enough! The root of this problem may, . . . → Read More: Curious about the natural history of Australian lizards?