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Yawning: Not just a Human Mechanism
Thursday November 19th 2015
Although yawning is a sensation we have all experienced at some point or another, be it through boredom, lack of sleep, or even just because the person sat next to you is yawning too. Despite the fact that we all do it, scientists are still unsure as to why exactly it happens. Although they can’t explain the reasons behind it, some have developed theories as to why we find it so contagious, and not only us humans, but our animals too!
It is suggested that it’s not only humans that find the action of yawning rather infectious. Some have theorised that, if we yawn around our pets, it is likely that they will also be swept up by the contagious sensation of it all.
Scientists believe that this could be explained by the pet’s strong ability to empathise with their owner. The contagious aspect of yawning is believed to be caused partly by empathy. Therefore the reason in which individuals may be able to trigger yawning in their pets could be explained by the animal’s strong ability to relate to their owners so closely.
So, we’ve established that it can often be us which set our pets off yawning, but what about animals in the wild? Charles Darwin presented various theories as to why different animals in the wild will yawn. For penguins, it is said that they yawn as part of their courtship ritual, each male will open their beaks and point their faces towards the sky in an attempt to win the female’s attention. On the other end of the spectrum, the Guinea Pig will yawn as a sign of anger and in an attempt to show authority. This is because, through yawning, the Guinea Pig will expose their large incisor teeth which will then intimidate whoever it is they are angry towards. Similarly, the Baboon will also use yawning as a display of anger. So next time you find yourself near what you perceive to be just another sleepy Guinea Pig, or even Baboon, remember that you should probably keep your distance!
This article was written on behalf of helpucover. helpucover is a trading style of Pinnacle Insurance plc, an insurance company who offers pet insurance.