Even if you’re not interested in lizards, stay with me for a minute or two–because this is a mystery of nature.
This lizard is an Australian bearded dragon. He thinks his reflection in the mirror is another lizard, so he goes into a head-bobbing display to warn the stranger off his territory. He even has some idea of going behind the mirror to see if the interloper might be hiding there.
Travel halfway around the globe to, say, Florida, and you’ll find little green anoles performing the same display for the same reasons (courtship and threat). These groups of lizards are not related, and thousands of miles of planet lie between them. Behavior doesn’t show up in any fossil record. Why do these very different, widely separated lizards do this same ritual?
God’s work is endlessly fascinating: you never get to the bottom of it.
Meanwhile, I’ve had many different kinds of lizards as pets and by rights some of them should have head-bobbed (also known as lizard pushups)… but none of them ever did. I did have an anole who went totally ballistic when he saw his reflection in a hand mirror; I had to take the mirror away before he did himself a mischief.
Then there are the two large families of lizards, one in the Old World, the other in the New, who look just about exactly like one another but aren’t related at all. But that’s another post for later sometime.