(STUDY FINDS) -- OKINAWA, Japan — Move over elephants, giant land tortoises may just be the kings of the animal kingdom when it comes to memory. Historically, these large reptiles haven’t been considered especially intelligent, but a new study conducted at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology is suggesting both their overall brain power and memory skills have been greatly underestimated.
“When first discovered, giant land tortoises were viewed as stupid because explorers could simply collect and store them on ships as a supply of fresh meat,” explains study author and postdoctoral scholar Dr. Tamar Gutnick in a statement.
Despite this unfair stereotype, the research team say there have been signs of these turtles’ high intelligence and superior memory for a long time. In fact, Charles Darwin himself noted that Galapagos tortoises tended to travel great distances between the locations they typically ate, slept, and bathed, which would require sufficient memory skills in order to remember their routes back and forth. Additionally, other explorers around this time period had noted that tortoises were capable of being trained to stay in one location aboard ships.
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