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The Mysterious Reptile Brain

A web search of the words “reptile behavior” will likely show you a number of less-than-stimulating explanations. For example, Encarta Encyclopedia’s section on reptile behavior exclusively discusses the reptilian inability to thermoregulate (1). A search for “reptile brain” may bring up a common view that mammalian brains contain “layers of more sophisticated reasoning” over a reptilian foundation (2). Essentially, our lack of understanding has caused us to pigeonhole these creatures to a simplistic and inferior place in relation to mammals, but how valid and conclusive are our assumptions? What is our evidence?

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