Hi! My name is Michael. I just graduated from college, and now I am working in the Lizard Lab. I get to work on so many cool projects, but I am really excited to tell you about one project in particular.
When I was in college I was really interested in the brain. I wanted to know all about our brains and the brains of the animals we see everyday – like dogs, cats, birds, and even lizards. For example, do you ever wonder why dogs love to smell your dirty clothes, or the food in a trash can? Well, dogs have a region in their brain called the olfactory bulb that is much larger than our olfactory bulb, and this gives dogs their super sense of smell. Often scientists will look at brain structures like this to help them understand why an animal behaves a certain way.
For my project, I looked at lizard brains to see if I could figure out why they like to fight in a funny way. I came up with this idea when I was watching lizards fight, and I noticed that they all fight sideways (how weird!). What was even more interesting was that when two male lizards start fighting about something (like who gets to eat a bug, or hang out with a female lizard) they look at each other mostly with their left eyes (see picture above). These lizards like to fight from their left side, just like we like to write or throw a ball with our right hands (or, if you’re left-handed, with your left hand).
After watching this strange lizard behavior, I then looked at the brains of these lizards to see if there was anything interesting about their size and shape. I wondered if maybe their brains were “lefty” or “righty,” and if this caused the lizards to fight with their left side of their body. I didn’t find any lizards with “lefty” or “righty” brains, so I’m still trying to figure out why lizards like to fight from their left side…
Why do you think lizards like to fight from their left side? Do you think this is related to why we like to use our right or left hand? Let me know what you think!