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Social Cognition in a Non-Social Reptile? Gaze-Following in Red-Footed Tortoises

Have you ever been at a party with lots of people chatting away, when for some unexplainable reason you felt compelled to turn and look at the front door of your friend’s house…and just as you were looking, someone was just coming in from outside and closing the door? You couldn’t have heard the door open since there was so much noise already inside – more likely you noticed that other people were looking at the front door. All of this probably happened without any explicit intention or awareness. If several others are all directing their attention at a specific point in space, there might be something important there. We’re naturally aware of where others are looking. And so are lots of other animals.

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