Imagine you owned a patch of land, but couldn’t put up any fences. How would you remember what was yours and what belonged to your neighbor?

Many animal species protect areas of land, which we call their territories. By keeping competitors off their land, a territorial male is able to mate with any females that live there. As well as being strong enough to defend his territory, he has to be able to remember what belongs to him and what doesn’t! Otherwise, he will risk getting into lots of fights with other territorial male neighbors.

A special part of the brain processes the memory of spaces and locations. We ran an experiment on lizards to see what caused this part of the brain to change size, and the results were not what we expected!

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About this article

Summary of research
Scientists wanted to know if changes in testosterone levels in male lizards had an impact on their brain’s spatial memory cortex’s size.
Reading level
Scientific field
Key words
NGSS standards
AP Environmental science topics
IB Biology topics
Scientific methods
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Scientist Affiliation
Publication date
December 2017

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