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Wolves Vulnerable to Contagious Yawning

Yawning isn’t a lone wolf phenomenon. New research shows that when one wolf yawns, a packmate often does too.

Watching a pack of wolves at the Tama Zoological Park outside Tokyo last year, Japanese researchers found that the sight of a wolf yawning often triggered yawning in other wolves. And the more time the wolves spent together, the more likely it was to happen.

This is the first time this phenomenon has been observed in wolves, the researchers say.

For centuries, scientists have been puzzling over why we yawn. We tend to yawn more when we’re tired than when we’re not, but people and animals yawn at plenty of other times too. (How many of you have yawned so far just reading this article?) Some studies have found that yawning cools the brain, since the intake of outside air lowers internal temperature. Others say that yawning helps keep us alert, which may explain why some people yawn right before doing something stressful, like jumping out of a plane…

Read the entire article on nationalgeographic.com: Wolves Vulnerable to Contagious Yawning

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