If you ever felt embarrassed because you couldn’t hold a long yawn, well you shouldn’t. A new study from specialists suggests that long yawns are associated with big brains. So such a small gesture actually says a thing or two about your intelligence. The findings of the study apply to humans, as well as several animal species.
The scientists conducting the research were interested in the length of yawns in nineteen species, including humans. Other animals submitted to the test were elephants, walruses, camels, monkeys, rabbits, and mice. Pets such as cats and dogs were also included in the study. All in all, more than one hundred individuals were analyzed.
According to these analyses, long yawns are related to brain development and its weight. It also points out how many cortical neurons a species has or uses.
What the researchers did was time the yawns from different animals. They used a simple research material, such as YouTube videos. Humans gained by far the competition, with an approximately six seconds long yawn. Mice were at the bottom line, with 0.8 seconds on average.
The specialists highlighted the fact that long yawns aren’t necessarily related to big jaws. Powerful animals such as lions and African elephants were analyzed, and the duration of their yawns is shorter than that of fragile humans.
Specialists reached the conclusion that long yawns are associated with big brains by studying the relation between yawning and the brain. When we yawn, we open our mouths and breath in the air, which cools the brain, scientists explain. The longer we yawn, the more air gets to the brain and sets neurons in motion.
Previous studies also prove this theory. They show that yawning is actually a mechanism through which we “reactivate” the brain. This is why we experience this state when we are bored or sleepy. By yawning, we also determine blood to run towards the brain.
It seems like yawning is one of the interesting features that humans share with animals. It is also common knowledge that yawning is somehow contagious. When we see another person doing it, we do it ourselves. It is also hard to control, and this is why specialists think that it is a natural, involuntary sign showing the number of neurons.
On the other hand, there are also scientists who don’t agree with this peculiar association. Will pay more attention to your own yawn for now on? Or your friend’s? Or your pet’s?
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia