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Lizards Beat Birds In Intelligence Test

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the bird-brains dept.

Science 104

rhettb writes "Reptiles have long been thought to be dim-witted, but a new study in Biology Letters finds that the Puerto Rican anole, a type of lizard, can match birds in intelligence. Using cognitive tests that have been previously used on birds, researchers with Duke University found that the lizards were capable of solving a problem they've never encountered before, remembering the solution in future trials, and even changing techniques when presented with new challenges. In fact, the tiny anoles solved the test with fewer tries than birds."

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Misleading Summary (4, Informative)

slifox (605302) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755556)

The article itself points out that the conclusion is NOT that lizards are smarter than birds, but rather that this particular lizard is extremely smart:

While the study found unexpected cognitive abilities in the lizards, an expert on bird intelligence, Louis Lefebvre with McGill University, says that the study doesn't necessarily mean lizards are smarter than birds since birds still have larger body-to-brain ratios than reptiles. Instead it may mean that anoles are among the most intelligent of the reptiles.

This study shows that anole lizards are particularly quick learners when it comes to this type of test (quickly learning under which cap the food is located).

I don't think that speed of learning is necessarily definitely correlated to capacity for learning; it's possible that a parrot might learn more slowly than this lizard, but might still eventually be able to achieve more extensive and higher levels of cognitive processing.

Certain birds (parrots in particular) actually have the capability to count; have object permanence (understanding that an object still exists even when it is out of range of senses such as sight/smell/etc); have self-awareness (understanding that a mirror is showing an image of themselves, not another animal); construct and utilize tools in indirect arrangements (e.g. use one tool to obtain another tool, which is then used to complete a task); learn by observation; and organize in complex social structures with intricate communication. These are all cognitive abilities that are found in early human childhood development.

That said, this lizard is pretty cool! I kinda want one now...

Re:Misleading Summary (1)

Rifter13 (773076) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755734)

Yea, I was thinking along the lines as well. Parrot and crow families tend to be very intelligent. I find it hard to believe the Anole is smarter than them. Of course, I am sure some of those would look at the Anole as a tasty morsel, and would win, anyhow.

Re:Misleading Summary (2)

IronClad (114176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36756938)

Parrots and Crows may think they're smart, but it takes a lizard to be Anole-Retentive.

Re:Misleading Summary (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 3 years ago | (#36756948)

I read TFA (really ;-), and noticed that there was no mention of the species of bird. They just claimed that this one species of lizard is as good at solving problems as "birds".

I've known both pigeons and parakeets, and it's pretty obvious that the little 'keets are a lot more intelligent than the much larger pigeons.

I wonder how the Puerto Rican anole compares in brain size and body mass with a budgie. I'd guess they might not be very different.

Re:Misleading Summary (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36758434)

They didn't test birds. They did, however, reference several previous studies of behavioural reversal tasks done on birds (pinyon jays, Clark’s nutcrackers, western scrub jays, Zenaida doves, and song sparrows). These studies indicate that the more social a creature is, the more readily it can adapt its behaviour. Similarly, the more complex the environment (especially when it comes to finding food) the more readily a creature can adapt its behaviour. Anoles are neither very social, nor do they have a complex environment when it comes to food (being more-or-less ambush predators, they eat bugs that get too close. The food comes to them, not the other way around). By those criteria, the anoles should be rather poor at behavioural reversal tasks. Surprisingly, they were quite good at them.

Our findings indicate that the cognitive abilities of A. evermanni are comparable with those of some endothermic species that are recognized to be highly flexible, and strongly suggest a re-thinking of our understanding of the cognitive abilities of ectothermic tetrapods and of the factors favouring the evolution of behavioural flexibility.

http://anoleannals.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/leal-and-powell-2011.pdf [wordpress.com]

Re:Misleading Summary (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755828)

birds still have larger body-to-brain ratios than reptiles

What does that have to do with anything? The only meaningful measurement of intelligence is problem solving ability.

Re:Misleading Summary (1)

slifox (605302) | more than 3 years ago | (#36756194)

Studies suggest that there is a potential correlation between brain-body size ratio and intelligence. While this link is not definite, it's certainly is somewhat meaningful

The wikipedia page is a decent place to start for a general overview.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain-to-body_mass_ratio [wikipedia.org]

Re:Misleading Summary (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36756604)

Yes, but an empirical determination of intelligence outweighs any attempt to assay intelligence through indirect means such as mass ratios.

Re:Misleading Summary (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#36757614)

Studies suggest that there is a potential correlation between brain-body size ratio and intelligence.

The study is most definitely biased, just look at the fat, arrogant, asshats in DC and you will see that the study is without merit.

Re:Misleading Summary (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36758462)

They get money, fame, power, and women, all without doing anything labourious or meaningful, and you see this as being a sign of lack of intelligence?

Re:Misleading Summary (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#36763004)

They get money, fame, power, and women, all without doing anything labourious or meaningful, and you see this as being a sign of lack of intelligence?

Are all the recall votes in yet? Has the budget been balanced? Are we still at war? Hmmm...all that money, fame, power and yet, they can't get their act together. Survey says...Stupid is as stupid does.

Re:Misleading Summary (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 3 years ago | (#36763034)

The problems is, birds are uber-optimized. They use every trick for weight saving, like hollow bones. So comparing them to other animals is not entirely correct.

Re:Misleading Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36755868)

You make good points, especially about speed and capacity being different for learning. As for wanting one, you may already have access to a smart lizard.

Anecdotally, but based on my experience in home gardens in the U.S. Southwest, 'fence' variety lizards seem to form schedules around gardening activities. Not only will lizards show up a bit ahead of time for things they like that happen on schedule (usually water related in hot months), but some seem to form attachments to humans.

I currently have a crossword buddy Western Fence lizard that has just gotten the mature turquoise markings. At first there was interest shown by scurrying in my general area, then the lizard would be hanging out around lunchtime in the area I do my puzzling, now it actually sits next to my foot in the shade while I do my crossword most days of the week. I have no idea what it gets out of the association.

Mountain Spiny lizards on the other hand seem to ignore humans almost completely. Maybe being large reduces the need for strategic thinking.

Anyhow, find lizard habitat, do a puzzle. Seeing intelligent behavior in the wild seems to come naturally when one forms tranquil habits in natural settings.

Re:Misleading Summary (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 3 years ago | (#36756158)

One the lizard has determined you are safe, he now has a safe place to hang out since not many of its predators will approach something of your size. Assuming you are human of course.

Re:Misleading Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36756674)

Assuming you are human of course.

So? Are you???

Honestly? (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 3 years ago | (#36757406)

I am not entirely sure.

Re:Misleading Summary (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#36757054)

As a lizard, I can confirm this.

Re:Misleading Summary (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755916)

Certain birds (parrots in particular) actually have the capability to count

Crows also. Up to seven, as I recall.

After that, they're at the "many" stage....

Re:Misleading Summary (2)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755986)

I've heard of Counting Crows before.

Re:Misleading Summary (2)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#36756472)

After that, they're at the "many" stage....

Actually, after that they're at the "murder" stage...

Re:Misleading Summary (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 3 years ago | (#36756874)

Crows also. Up to seven, as I recall. After that, they're at the "many" stage....

That's a bigger number than many humans (and a few human societies) can handle.

Re:Misleading Summary (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36758610)

Unfortunately, more so every day.
Just the other day, something I bought cost $7.05, and I handed over $12.05. The cashier immediately pushed back the two ones, and then counted out three more ones. From what I could tell, she had a healthy stack of five dollar bills, so apparently, a concept of a difference of five was too complex.

No, I don't blame calculators. I blame a school system that only rewards parroting and by choice takes away the ability for teachers to reward actual thinking in the fear that they might do just that.

Re:Misleading Summary (1)

khr (708262) | more than 3 years ago | (#36761572)

From what I could tell, she had a healthy stack of five dollar bills, so apparently, a concept of a difference of five was too complex.

Did you communicate with her that you were expecting to a five dollar bill back? Or just assuming that she would do that simply because she had what looked like enough? Since it sounds like you probably gave her a 10 and two 1's, she already had part of your $5 change in her hands, so it could've been more work for her to put those in the drawer and then get a bill out of the $5 space, than to simply yank three $1 bills out, and not put more bills back in.

Re:Misleading Summary (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755934)

I have a 16 year old Green Iguana, who is very socialized and very intelligent.

My wife, who is an environmental biologist who studied Western Fence Lizards, thinks my Iguana is at least as intelligent as the Cacatuidae birds, but not as smart as True Parrots.

When he is learning and observing you can tell he needs a few seconds to process, but for things like food and threats he is very crafty and communicates well.

Re:Misleading Summary (2)

cffrost (885375) | more than 3 years ago | (#36761008)

Will you please elaborate with some anecdotes?

Re:Misleading Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36762228)

Certainly.

Anecdotally, but based on my experience in home gardens in the U.S. Southwest, 'fence' variety lizards seem to form schedules around gardening activities. Not only will lizards show up a bit ahead of time for things they like that happen on schedule (usually water related in hot months), but some seem to form attachments to humans.

I currently have a crossword buddy Western Fence lizard that has just gotten the mature turquoise markings. At first there was interest shown by scurrying in my general area, then the lizard would be hanging out around lunchtime in the area I do my puzzling, now it actually sits next to my foot in the shade while I do my crossword most days of the week. I have no idea what it gets out of the association.

Mountain Spiny lizards on the other hand seem to ignore humans almost completely. Maybe being large reduces the need for strategic thinking.

Anyhow, find lizard habitat, do a puzzle. Seeing intelligent behavior in the wild seems to come naturally when one forms tranquil habits in natural settings.

Re:Misleading Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36756164)

Reptiles are highly underrated for intelligence. Among reptile fans uromastyx are generally considered the most intelligent. They are highly intelligent and seem far more self aware than birds. I've also kept a lot of large monitor lizards and I'd rate the intelligence of some as approaching dog and cat intelligence. I've even seen impressive problem solving by monitors especially when it comes to escaping. I nicknamed a mangrove monitor Houdini after several seeming impossible escapes. My two standouts were a savannah monitor that was just like a dog and loved people and a large albino python that had the strongest personality of any reptile I ever had. The real problem isn't animal intelligence it's the complexity of defining intelligence. Self awareness used to be the gold standard but it's been found that a lot of animals including non mammals have high degrees of self awareness. Tool usage was the other benchmark but once again it's fairly common in the animal kingdom. Problem solving was the other standard but Octopuses are amazing problem solvers and can beat rats when it comes to mazes. Some have even proposed cephalopods being on par with humans, whales and dolphins. They have far more complex nervous systems than humans and are the best non mammal candidate for developing into what we would call "intelligent life". I still remember a large iguana I had for years. One apartment was so small I had to put his cage in the bedroom. Each morning when he woke up he'd want to be fed so he'd hang on the mesh of the cage and shake it trying to wake me up so he could get his breakfast. The funny part is he'd shake it for a few seconds then cock his head to see if I was awake. If I just laid there he'd shake it again then cock his head and see if I was still sleeping. He'd keep up this ritual until I got out of bed. It was like a cat standing on your chest and staring into your face wanting to be fed in the morning.

Anti-avian bias (2)

Windwraith (932426) | more than 3 years ago | (#36756360)

Thanks for clarifying the misleading title. You rock.

I happen to be quite partial to birds since my childhood. If you give a bird, even the low-intelligence ones (such as straight-beaked paserine songbirds), something to do that is not sitting in an empty cage for all of its life, you will discover that "bird brained" is a completely false expression.

However I keep seeing people that refuse to admit that birds are something other than flying poop factories, or "little music boxes" that sit on their cage until they die. Despite proof of the contrary.
A very intelligent bird, which happens to be my favorite, the European Magpie, is absolutely hated around. But not because they eat crops from farmers...because they outsmart farmers using traps and stuff against them.
Human beings of low intelligence will immediately respond with violence. "How could a stupid bird win over ME!?"
And yet we are speaking of a bird with the intelligence of a little kid, which is self-aware, can solve situations on its own, and even use tools like we'd do.
And now that more people knows about avian intelligence...misleading titles like this come up.
I came up with the conclusion that mankind absolutely despises birds. Who knows, perhaps it's envy for their free flight, or it's genetic memory from when large avians (theoretically) predated on early hominids.

Re:Misleading Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36756446)

The article itself points out that the conclusion is NOT that lizards are smarter than birds, but rather that this particular lizard is extremely smart

Actually, it doesn't conclude that, either. I don't think anyone is claiming any lizards are "extremely smart". It just proved that one species of lizard was able to solve one problem faster than birds. Could just as easily have been some "really stupid birds". I think the article was much less misleading than your post...

Re:Misleading Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36756600)

maybe that's why the GP said the SUMMARY was misleading, not the article

Re:Misleading Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36756924)

Learn to read

This study shows that anole lizards are particularly quick learners when it comes to this type of test (quickly learning under which cap the food is located).

Re:Misleading Summary (1)

Ferzerp (83619) | more than 3 years ago | (#36756790)

Perhaps (and this is an unsupported conjecture on my part), the mode of locomotion has created this disparity.

A bird has more room for error without becoming food (due to the flight aspect) than a lizard. A lizard needs to learn fast or be eaten. I can see how a bird might be able to learn slower (but contain higher potential) without being eaten.

Re:Misleading Summary (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#36757042)

Well fuck, and here I thought I would finally get the recognition I deserve. Damn birds....

Re:Misleading Summary (1)

cffrost (885375) | more than 3 years ago | (#36761026)

Well, I don't see any birds contributing here.

Re:Misleading Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36761964)

As far as I know, birds haven't passed the "mirror recognition" test. The chance to do that with Dr. Pepperberg's Alex the African Grey parrot was lost when Alex, taken into a bathroom. Alex looked in the mirror, asked who it was and the researcher (not knowing they were holding off introducing Alex to mirrors) said that it was Alex.

My own parrots don't appear to recognize themselves but also do not react to the "bird in the mirror" like they would to another bird.

I wonder if the problem is not that they're not "self-aware," but that they don't have a concept for "mirror."

Did anyone post on Slashdot about the rhesus monkey that showed it knew it was causing change? Self-awareness may be a spectrum (duh...).

Crap like this is why University costs are so high (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36755576)

Crap like this is why University costs are so high

Birds still are smarter (-1, Troll)

dotmatrix6 (2370650) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755588)

Look, the plain good old crows can take a nut, throw it on a runway [thoughts.com] , wait till car crashes it and pick it up...

Cherry picking. (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755624)

By both the original article, which I didn't read, and the parent poster. Crows are bird super geniuses.

Re:Birds still are smarter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36755654)

Linkspam, NSFW.

Re:Birds still are smarter (2)

clong83 (1468431) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755762)

Do not follow link. NSFW. NSF anyone or anything.... Mod parent down as troll.

Gieco (2)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755606)

I call BS. Everyone knows that the Giecko Gecko is the smartest reptile.

Re:Gieco (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36756180)

Look, dude, it's enough that people confuse "gecko" and "Geico". Now you want to make it even harder by mixing in "Gieco" and "Giecko"???

Re:Gieco (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36757918)

I believe I'm in a unique position to opine on this.

First, of all, it's Geico (i before e, except after c, and also except in acronyms [orginally: Government Employees Insurance COmpany]). Secondly, I'm afraid that that particular fellow is a bit of a sellout. His species is Phelsuma madagascariensis, the Giant Madagascar Day Gecko, but he does not have a Madagascar accent. He had better be careful, lest he be replaced by a CGI gecko.

Finally, anoles are not particular bright for lizards. I've had some, several kinds. They're very charming, but not bright. The males tend to be a bit hen-pecked - sometimes the females will even take food out of their mouths. One pair of knight anoles I had to separate because when then were together, the male would turn an unhappy mottled blue and refuse to eat. As soon I removed him to an adjacent tank, the male had a testosterone rush, climbed up higher than the female, and made with the tough-guy head bobbing and dewlapping. So, I put them back together, and he slunk around the back of a branch and turned mottled blue again.

This is a not a smart lizard. Geckos, on the other hand - I read this in a book - are the intellectuals of the reptile world. I read that in a book.

Re:Gieco (1)

geckoFeet (139137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36757932)

Oh, blah, that was my comment (geckoFeet); I didn't notice I wasn't logged in. So much for lizard intelligence.

Lizards beat birds in intelligence tests (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36759512)

The whole story's a bit obvious really. How else would sleazy balding men pick up beautiful women in bars?

The Angry Lizards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36755678)

... coming soon to your app store!

Re:The Angry Lizards (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#36757088)

I think I deserve a cut of that.

Re:The Angry Lizards (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36762308)

Listen, mate, I have seen you trying to be cute all over the place. It does not work. I know you are one of THEM. Just because they let you run around without a human mask as their cute human relations spokeslizard doesn't change a bit. I know who THEY are. I know what THEY are up to. You won't distract from that, no, Sir lizard.

No octopi? (3, Interesting)

Qatz (1209584) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755708)

Octopus are also very intelligent quiet possible more so then birds.

Re:No octopi? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36755806)

shhhhhh could you possibly be quite?

Re:No octopi? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36756746)

I doubt they make their own tools though. Corvidae do. Like bend a wire into a specific hook to be able to pull something out, and similar things.
They also do things like throw nuts on the street for cars to drive over them, and pick the insides out of the cracked shells when the light is red.

That's pretty damn smart, and damn close to ape level.

Re:No octopi? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#36757860)

Seriously, they managed to build exoskeletons, plant a deadly virus that affects only humans, and invade New York.

Cuttlefish smarter than octopus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36762690)

Certain species of Cuttlefish have an even higher brain to body size ratio that octopi and are smarter than many birds too.

A big brain is a heavy brain (1)

williamyf (227051) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755746)

And a heavy brain is a liability when you try to fly....

Of course we all know that brain weight alone is not 100% correlated to inteligence, but you see where i am going, right?

Re:A big brain is a heavy brain (1)

jedwidz (1399015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755870)

So is a big stomach, guess that's why birds don't lounge around eating leaves all day.

Re:A big brain is a heavy brain (2)

prefec2 (875483) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755872)

It does not correlate at all. The important factor is surface size. Meaning many ripples == brilliant, no ripples = dumb.

Re:A big brain is a heavy brain (2)

chispito (1870390) | more than 3 years ago | (#36756564)

It does not correlate at all. The important factor is surface size. Meaning many ripples == brilliant, no ripples = dumb.

That was a very smooth observation.

Re:A big brain is a heavy brain (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#36758720)

Brain to body size ratio does correlate with intelligence, just not particularly well for the relatively small variations seen in humans. Surface area does too, with certain constraints.

Re:A big brain is a heavy brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36758796)

Not necessarily. Birds have a different brain structure from mammals, and the simplistic generalization that any brain is capable only of higher learning in its thin folded outer layer is, in a word, wrong. Birds are an excellent counter-example.

Specifically, in mammals higher thought takes place primarily in the neocortex, the thin highly folded outer layer of the brain. In birds higher thought is a product of clusters of neurons called nuclei arranged more compactly than the the folded sheets of the mammalian neocortex. The organization of a bird's brain is physically different, but the resulting capacity for higher learning is similar.

Re:A big brain is a heavy brain (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#36758578)

That explains Southwest Airline pilots

No pinguins? (2)

ELCouz (1338259) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755748)

I want to know if a penguin are smarter than a window or an apple!

Futurama... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36755758)

-- Yeah, we changed the name of that lizard to get rid of that old joke...
-- What have you renamed it?
-- Anoles.
-- Ooh, I see...

Birds are still smarter (-1, Troll)

dotmatrix8 (2370686) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755772)

Look, the plain good old crows can take a nut, throw it on a pedestrian roadcross [thoughts.com] , wait till car crashes then wait for green light and then pick it up

Re:Birds are still smarter (1)

Midajo (654520) | more than 3 years ago | (#36756022)

That link is goatse-esque. Yuck.

Poor birds? (2)

migla (1099771) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755780)

When asked how they felt about being described as less intelligent than lizards, Polly Parrot replied:
-"I was flying all the way to the bank."

Welcome! (2)

Oyjord (810904) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755832)

Let me be the first to welcome our Puerto Rican anole overlords.

Which birds? (2)

prefec2 (875483) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755836)

There are many different kinds of birds. While dodos were extremely stupid, crows are even using tools to solve problems. So to what bird did they compare that lizard? A chicken, an eagle, a duck or an ostrich. We will never know.

Bird brains (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755948)

Those with bird brains I'd guess.

Re:Which birds? (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36755972)

While dodos were extremely stupid

Dodos were not inherently dumb - in spite of their name - they just lacked fear of predators because there were none in their habitat. The same thing happens all over the world; isolated species lose innate fear of potential predators because they don't recognize them as such.

Your comment on crows is spot on, though. And indeed there is a great variance in bird intellect.

Re:Which birds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36756268)

Blonde birds?

Re:Which birds? (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36756336)

We don't know. That is not the same as we will never know. To know we will never know would require first to know, and then also to know the future. So then you already know that you know, so you wouldn't say it. So I'm calling BS on that one.

We don't know, and in the future we will know much more than we do now.

Re:Which birds? (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 3 years ago | (#36756430)

A Duck!

Not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36756068)

I raised anoles (commonly called "chameleons" when I was a kid) back in jr. high and high school. My largest one, named George, would come and eat out of my hand when I fed them.

Sadly, one of our cats managed to pry open the top of the terrarium. All I found was George's tail. ..bruce..

Re:Not surprised (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36757504)

All I found was George's tail. ..bruce..

Why did you name the tail? Were you hoping it would grow back the rest of the lizard?

I can't remember arn't birds sometimes (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | more than 3 years ago | (#36756408)

considered to be a kind of reptile? (I think I saw that on XKCD.)

Re:I can't remember arn't birds sometimes (1)

ladoga (931420) | more than 3 years ago | (#36756928)

I can't remember arn't birds sometimes considered to be a kind of reptile? (I think I saw that on XKCD.)

No. Birds are the only currently existing clade of dinosaurs and are warm-blooded while reptiles are cold-blooded.

Re:I can't remember arn't birds sometimes (2)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36757478)

It depends on what definition of "reptile" you're using, and whether you characterize it by properties (cold-bloodedness, scales, etc.) or by phylogenetics (ie. which species evolved from which). It's complicated.

BBT (3, Funny)

atomicbutterfly (1979388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36756552)

Don't forget - lizard also beats Spock.

Re:BBT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36759674)

Ok, now "paper-siccsors-rock-bird-lizard-Spock".

Processing Priority (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36756772)

If birds aren't as smart as reptiles, it's probably because they dedicate a significant portion of their reasoning powers to manage flight operations.

Re:Processing Priority (1)

gparent (1242548) | more than 3 years ago | (#36757230)

Just like humans dedicate most of their brain power into walking and being able to stand still.

Birds have to think in 3-d (2)

jvkjvk (102057) | more than 3 years ago | (#36757004)

That takes a bit of space, and can hardly be determined in term's of todays 'intelligence' tests.

Perhaps different species have different kinds of 'intelligence', particular to some 'test' as derived from a filter of some "scientist".

That is, we select which species are "intelligent" dependent upon the type(s) of tests we provide training to.

Regards.

Re:Birds have to think in 3-d (1)

Theovon (109752) | more than 3 years ago | (#36757888)

Indeed. I've noticed this with regard to IQ in humans. IQ is a useful measure, but it only measures certain things. For instance, it doesn't measure social ability, but social ability is an important cognitive function that is a major part of intelligence.

Re:Birds have to think in 3-d (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#36758202)

Harry Reid, Joe Biden, GWB and Sarah Palin prove your point!

Thank you, I'll be here all night.

Re:Birds have to think in 3-d (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36761100)

Social ability is both useful and a cognitive function, but that still doesn't make it part of intelligence.

In the study of cognitive functions, it was found that many test scores showed high correlations, and intelligence is pretty much defined as the common cause of those correlations. IQ tests are designed to measure exclusively that intelligence. However, all these tests in general are paper tests, or at best practical tests, without the involvment other people. It makes them more objective, but does mean that social ability is not a cause of correlations. Later studies show social ability to be (mostly) unrelated to intellligence, and as a consequence unrelated to IQ tests.

Re:Birds have to think in 3-d (1)

Theovon (109752) | more than 3 years ago | (#36761768)

The fact that IQ scores, from paper tests, correlate with other paper test scores is almost tautological and does not contradict my assertion that social ability is part of general intelligence. Try again.

So do gnats (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36758110)

But that doesn't make them intelligent. It just means they have good programming. Intelligence is defined as the ability to think and learn. Birds almost certainly don't think about flying any more than you do about walking.

so do lizards (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 3 years ago | (#36759534)

Catching prey requires 3D vision after all. Only a few species of lizards are vegetarian, most are hunters and/or scavengers.

I, for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36757418)

salute our simultaneously brainy and lizardly overlords. They strip away some of our superiority complex when they come and take the next step perhaps with the help of a medicine for Alzheimer's.

How about lizard vs slashdotter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36758210)

How about lizard vs slashdotter... pretty even odds?

Ahh, but was the test Culture Fair? (1)

aynoknman (1071612) | more than 3 years ago | (#36758424)

I'll bet the testers were lizards!

Re:Ahh, but was the test Culture Fair? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36760062)

I'll bet the testers were lizards!

Not at all. The tests were conducted by a neutral party who received a quite generous grant from our lizard overlords to conduct the research.

That may be true... but... (1)

BottleCup (691335) | more than 3 years ago | (#36758702)

my bird can kick your lizard's ass any time!

flawed, lizards use smell (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 3 years ago | (#36759570)

In the article there is nothing about hiding smell of the worm used from the lizards. These lizards use smell just as much as vision to locate their prey. It'd be easy enough for them to smell the worm under the cap, giving them the advantage of that over the birds that rarely use smell to locate food.

Meh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36759752)

And here I thought reptilians [wikipedia.org] are pretty smart. After all, they get us humans to use tools for their benefit.

Why didn't the birds just fly away ? (1)

ToddInSF (765534) | more than 3 years ago | (#36760024)

Battered Bird Syndrome ?

Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36760236)

Anybody else read that as "Lizards Beat Girls In Intelligence Test" ?
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