- Not Exactly Rocket Science
Dogs catch yawns from humans
Dogs may be known for their skills at catching sticks, but new research shows that are just as adept at catching our yawns. The result probably comes as no surprise to dog-owners but it’s the first time that it’s ever been demonstrated under experimental conditions.
Yawning is famously contagious – if one person does it, the chances are that someone nearby will start too. A variety of back-boned animals yawn, but until now only three species are known to catch them from each other – humans, chimps and stumptail macaques. The new study provides the first evidence that yawns can be contagious in species other than primates, or that one species can catch a yawn from another.
Ramiro Joly-Mascheroni at Birkbeck University