Tuesday, 7 October 2014

'Copycat' Bearded Dragons Mimic Their Peers

By Laura Geggel, Staff Writer | October 07, 2014 09:10am ET

The scaly bearded dragon is the first reptile to show it can imitate a peer, and all for the price of a mealworm, new research suggests.

In a new study, researchers trained a 3-year-old female bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) how to open a sliding screen door with her head. Once successful, the lizard entered the doorway and ate a mealworm prize. Other bearded dragons then watched a video of the lizard opening the door, and scientists monitored whether the otheranimals imitated the behavior.

All eight bearded dragons that watched the 11-second video of the demonstrator lizard followed suit. They opened the door in exactly the same manner as the bearded dragon in the video did, the researchers said. In contrast, the four lizards that did not see the video failed to open the door.

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