Scientists claim that a longer yawn indicates a well-developed and bigger brain. If someone spends his or hers time yawning, it does not necessarily mean that they are lazy, but that they have a brain which is abundant in neurons. Study related to this problem was recently published in Biology Letters. It has been discovered that the longer it takes an animal to yawn, the bigger its brain. This indicates that the gray matter is more pronounced and the number of neurons is larger.
- Studies have shown that animals with bigger brains yawn for a longer time.
- The human brain is the most developed one, thus we have the longest yawn.
Yawning has always been a phenomenon which was merely understood. It is considered to be a sign of boredom or sleepiness. Andrew Gallup, an evolutionary psychologist from the State University of New York at Oneonta, argued that yawning plays a significant psychological role in our bodies. Yawning seems to relax our brain in the same way our muscles become eased when stretching.
When someone stretches, he or she determines blood flow to increase to a specific area of the body. In the same way, the widening of the jaw during a yawn, transports a blood rush to the brain, providing oxygen and glucose to your neurons. This process relaxes your brain.
Gallup stated that animals which have a bigger brain need to yawn for a longer period, thus permitting the blood flow to slowly reach the head.
Specialists have conducted a study in which they have examined 24 species in two hundred videos. Among the species, you could find foxes, cats, dogs, hedgehogs, squirrels, including human beings. After this, scientists have compared the time span of a yawn with that animal’s brain weight and their neurons. The results were astonishing. The most robust correlation appeared between the duration of a yawn and the complexity of the brain.
Primates were the ones with the longest yawn. Apes, humans, but also elephants are registered to have an increased number of neurons and larger brains than other animals. It is obvious that the size of the brain automatically indicates that the cognitive functioning is higher.
Gallup stated that the only thing that separated us from other animals is represented by the most increased number of neurons. The jaw size and body size were not relevant to the purpose of the study. Isn’t this interesting data? What other significant similarities do we have with apes?
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