Reptiles were long considered to be unintelligent beings, with scientists going so far as to suggest that their cognitive abilities were fundamentally different from that of mammals and birds (e.g., Day et al. 1999). However, recent research has revealed an impressive suite of cognitive abilities in this group (e.g., Kis et al. 2015; Siviter et al. 2017; reviewed by Matsubara et al. 2017). Despite this, the body of work in this area remains small and the group is vastly understudied when compared to other vertebrate classes. This entry will provide a brief review of the current state of knowledge in the field of cognition in testudines.
Today’s extant testudines (also known as chelonia) are made up of turtles, tortoises, and terrapins. The group comprises of 327 species (van Dijk et al. 2014) and is characterized by a bony shell which encases the body. Chelonia are particularly informative in the study of the evolution of cognitive abilities as phylogenetic analyses place them as a...
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