Do you often yawn out of the blue and find it hard to control it? Well if you check out these latest scientific findings, your random yawns may stop bothering you altogether. In fact, you may actually want to ditch the good ol’ manners and give in to gaping for as long as you like ;).
Why? Because according to recent studies, the bigger your brain, the more time you yawn for. Moreover, these studies lend proof to the hypothesis that yawning can cool the brain and increase blood flow to it.
The Awesome Research by SUNY
Researchers from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oneonta found an interesting relationship: The length of time mammals yawn for and how big and complex their brains are.
‘Neither the size of the body nor the anatomical structures specific to yawning – cranium and mandible – are driving these effects, because gorillas, camels, horses, lions, walruses and African elephants all have shorter average yawns than humans,’ Dr. Andrew Gallup, a psychologist at the SUNY explains.
He further adds, ‘Instead, differences in yawn duration appear to be specifically linked to interspecies variation in brain size and complexity, with cortical neuron number being the most significant factor.’
The YouTube Experiment
- YouTube videos of 29 different mammals from hedgehogs to humans were studied for their yawning patterns.
- The scientists noticed a pattern: Small-brained animals with fewer neurons in the cortex section of their brain had shorter yawns as compared to large-brained animals with a greater number of cortical neurons.
- Primates yawn longer than nonprimates. Humans had the longest average yawn, lasting close to 7 seconds.
- African elephants, whose brains are close to the same weight as humans’ and have a similar number of cortical neurons, lasted about 6 seconds.
- The yawns of tiny-brained mice, in contrast, were less than 1.5 seconds in duration.
Okay so excuse us while we go cool down our brains with a gaping yawn 🙂 Oh and don’t forget to share this post with someone who yawns too much. 😉