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Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of the Unknown Wikenigma - an Encyclopaedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopaedia of the Unknown

Contagious Yawning

Most people have seen examples of Contagious Yawning in humans. The causes may be for instance, tiredness or boredom - and if one person in a group yawns (or convincingly feigns a yawn) it's often quite hard for others to resist.

Contagious yawing has also been observed and scientifically documented in many other animals including :

Chimpanzees
Bonobos
Orangutans
Macaque monkeys
Gelada baboons
Wolves
Domestic dogs
Rats
Budgerigars
Sheep
Elephants

A team at Birkbeck College, University of London recently performed the first formal research to document Trans Species Yawn Contagion. (man > dog) (reference here) And another recent study here.

There are theories regarding the possible evolutionary advantages to yawn contagion, for example, that contagious yawning may be part of a neural network involved in empathy. reference

But a full explanation is currently lacking.

Also see: Yawning


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