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Even birds can’t resist a good yawn

Last Updated: Monday, January 16, 2012 - 12:44

London: Not just humans but birds also find yawns irresistible, say a researcher.

Andrew Gallup at Binghamton University in New York found that budgies, the highly social birds, also make contagious yawn, New Scientist reported.

Many animals yawn, but only humans and a few other primates are known to trigger cascades of yawns around a group.

For his finding Gallup watched 21 budgies over 15 days and counted their yawns - a wide-open beak and slightly closed eyes, followed by a brief stretch of the neck.

He found each bird yawned one to three times an hour, but was more likely to do so if their neighbour had just yawned.

Gallup says it’s the first good evidence for contagious yawning in a non-primate.

His unpublished work also revealed that their yawns are more contagious after a sudden loud noise, suggesting yawning might help coordinate group alertness in the face of a threat.


First Published: Monday, January 16, 2012 - 12:44
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