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Penn State Researchers Discover Lizards Probably Handle Sex And Stress Better Than People

A new study by Penn State researchers shows that stress doesn’t affect the sexiest features of male eastern fence lizards, definitively proving that lizards have their shit together way more than humans do.

The study, which was published in a paper in the journal Scientific Reports, examined how low levels of stress hormones affect the fence lizard’s hot bod or quest for gains. The researchers specifically looked at the blue and black markings on the body of the lizard and the head bobs and pushups it performs to show them to potential mates.

The research found that the color of the animal’s badges is not related to the levels of the stress hormone corticosterone in its blood. If the lizard couldn’t show off its beautiful badges to potential mates because of how stress affected its behavior, its badge hot spots wouldn’t matter at all. Still, the team found that stress didn’t affect signaling behaviors, either.

The study says a lot about the animal’s ability to reproduce, as well as its form and its environment. The researchers plan to continue studying signaling and how it affects a lizard’s health and chance of survival:

“Although we did not test aspects of signal perception by either conspecific females or rival males, we suggest that perception, and how habitat use might influence perception, is often neglected in the study of sexual signalling, particularly how it is affected by physiological change. Our results emphasize the importance of considering the effects of physiological traits such as glucocorticoids on secondary sexual traits in a holistic way that takes into account species ecology as well as morphology and behavior.”

You can read the full study, explained by people much smarter and much less juvenile than I, here.

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About the Author

Gabriela Stevenson

Gabriela is a senior majoring in print and digital journalism and Onward State's former student life editor. She is from Norristown, PA, which she normally refers to as "30 minutes outside of Philadelphia" (she looked up the exact driving time). She enjoys really enjoys eating cereal at night, in case you were wondering. To contact Gabriela, e-mail her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @GabiStevenson if you want to feel young again.

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