Yawning contagious in wolves too

A new study has suggested that wolves tend to yawn when they see one of their brethren indulging in the act -- just like the humans.

Yawning contagious in wolves too

Washington: A new study has suggested that wolves tend to yawn when they see one of their brethren indulging in the act -- just like the humans.

This kind of contagious behaviour could be a sign that wolves have the capacity for empathy like humans, researchers said.

"In wolves, as well as in primates and dogs, yawning is contagious between individuals, especially those that are close associates," said Teresa Romero from University of Toyko.

Female wolves reacted more quickly to a yawn than males did, suggesting that the females may be more responsive to social stimuli, suggested the researchers.

The contagious yawning behaviour suggests that the wolves may have the capacity for empathy, which is typically a human ability.

Yawning is a social cue that communicates information, often in a group setting.

Previous studies on chimpanzees have shown that the act is thought to be an indication of empathy.

The findings appeared in the journal PLOS ONE.

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