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Sentience Mosaic hosts live online debates where a variety of topics related to animal sentience will be discussed. Details of our next debate are below, take part in the current debate if it is live, or alternatively set an email reminder. Debates and comments are moderated by the Sentience Mosaic editors to ensure they run smoothly and efficiently. Unfortunately we cannot guarantee that every question will be posted. Once a debate is completed it will move to our past debates archive, where it will be available to read.

Reptiles: What do we know about their sentience and cognition?

Sentience Topic: Behaviour, Consciousness, Emotions Guest: Gordon Burghardt and Vladimir Dinets,  Date: 29 Aug 2014  
Global Issue: Conservation, Environment, Human- wildlife conflict


Join us on the 29th August 2014 at 4pm (UK time)

Reptiles evolved millions of years ago, inhabiting most parts of the globe. They have been on earth much longer than mammals, yet in terms of their cognitive abilities and emotional capacity, we still remain in the dark. What do we know about the cognitive abilities of a crocodile? Or the emotional lives of snakes?

Many species, such as snakes and lizards, are feared by many, or simply just misunderstood. Is there anything we can do to change people’s perceptions or make people care more about their welfare?


Gordon Burghardt,
  Alumni Distinguished Service Professor , Departments of Psychology and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, and Vladimir Dinets, Research Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee, will answer your questions live on the web. They will share what they know about reptile sentience and cognition and discuss where they feel future research is needed.

Once the discussion starts please post your questions/comments below for Gordon and Vladimir to answer. Alternatively send your questions to
sentience@worldanimalprotection.org in advance .



Did you know?

Dog brains, like those of humans, are sensitive to acoustic cues of emotion. Andics, A., Gácsi, M., Faragó, T., Kis, A., & Miklósi, Á. (2014) Current Biology