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The Real Reason We Yawn

December 16, 2008
Cat yawning. Vibrissae are easily seen.
Image via Wikipedia
I have seen monkeys yawn -and quite profusely at that. As this appears to be a common trait of both man and monkeys it has set me to wonder how this feature evolved in the first place. The conventional explanation often heard is that yawn is an indication of boredom. But is there anything like boredom in animals like monkeys if so what is it that they are bored of ?. If the monkeys are in our proximity it might be quite real that they are utterly bored with us knowing well that how tiresome some of us could be. But now comes the scientific explanation and I am somewhat relieved. Next time I inadvertently revert to this ancestral trait in presence of some valued guest I have a cool explanation.
clipped from

Dec. 15, 2008 — If your head is overheated, there’s a good
chance you’ll yawn soon, according to a new study that found the primary purpose
of yawning is to control brain temperature.


The finding solves several mysteries about yawning, such as why it’s most
commonly done just before and after sleeping, why certain diseases lead to
excessive yawning, and why breathing through the nose and cooling off the
forehead often stop yawning.

The key yawn instigator appears to be brain

“Brains are like computers,” Andrew Gallup, a researcher in the Department of Biology at Binghamton University who led the study, told Discovery News. “They operate most efficiently when cool, and physical adaptations have evolved to allow maximum cooling of the brain.”
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