(ORDO NEWS) — Andrew Gallup of the State University of New York reviewed previous studies on yawning and found the cause.
The scientist suggests that yawning appeared a very long time ago and has evolved over many millennia. It acts as a social signal that shows the rest of the group that the yawning person is not as alert as usual, so the rest of the group should be more careful.
Yawning is considered a characteristic phenomenon for a wide variety of species. For a long time, researchers did not have enough information regarding the main function of yawning.
In order to get new data, Andrew Gallup analyzed several scientific papers that looked at possible causes in several groups of animals. The scientist is sure that yawning is a social signal.
In addition, studies show that there is a relationship between brain size and the duration of yawning. The intensity and duration of yawning will be affected by the size of the brain.
“Yawning can occur spontaneously or be contagious. The first type has a completely physiological nature, and the second occurs only when someone nearby begins to actively yawn.
My guess is that the evolution of the contagious yawn is not that long ago.
This signal is now distributed exclusively among those groups of animals that can be called social,” says Gallup.
The researcher notes that contagious yawning is characteristic only for social species that can unite among themselves in groups. The peculiarity is that this type of yawning develops only after the period of infancy is over.
There are different theories as to what physiological significance yawning has. At the same time, some of them are erroneous, while others do not have any scientific confirmation.
For example, some experts say that yawning allows you to saturate the blood with oxygen, but this process has nothing to do with breathing, because their control is carried out using different mechanisms.
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