The bigger your brain, the longer you yawn

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Plazma Inferno!, Oct 6, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    When you let forth a big, embarrassing yawn during a boring lecture or concert, you succumb to a reflex so universal among animals that Charles Darwin mentioned it in his field notes. “Seeing a dog & horse & man yawn, makes me feel how much all animals are built on one structure,” he wrote in 1838. Scientists, however, still don’t agree on why we yawn or where it came from. So in a new study, researchers watched YouTube videos of 29 different yawning mammals, including mice, kittens, foxes, hedgehogs, walruses, elephants, and humans.
    They discovered a pattern: Small-brained animals with fewer neurons in the wrinkly outer layer of the brain, called the cortex, had shorter yawns than large-brained animals with more cortical neurons, the scientists report today in Biology Letters. Primates tended to yawn longer than nonprimates, and humans, with about 12,000 million cortical neurons, had the longest average yawn, lasting a little more than 6 seconds. African elephants, whose brains are close to the same weight as humans’ and have a similar number of cortical neurons, lasted about 6 seconds. The yawns of tiny-brained mice, in contrast, were less than 1.5 seconds in duration. The study lends support to a long-held hypothesis that yawning has an important physiological effect, such as increasing blood flow to the brain and cooling it down, the scientists say.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/10/bigger-your-brain-longer-you-yawn

    Study: http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/12/10/20160545
     
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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    yawn
     
    wegs likes this.
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  5. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    I want to know why watching another person yawn makes me yawn.
     
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  7. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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  8. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    The only time I'm concerned about yawning is when someone is talking to me. It just seems rude, so I fight the urge. I don't mind a good sneeze.
     
  9. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    I'm glad he expanded on that thought.
     

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