Furry Residents At Vienna Zoo Take Part In Worlds Largest Yawning Study

Furry residents at Schonbrunn Zoo in Vienna have taken part in the largest animal yawning study in the world.

University of Vienna biologist Margarita Hartlieb included Schonbrunn Zoo residents in an international yawning study about animals.

The joint research was carried out by numerous scientists from countries such as Austria, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, the US, and the Netherlands.

Credit: Tiergarten Schonbrunn/Newsflash

Hartlieb, who conducted the research as part of her postgraduate thesis, said: “Yawning has nothing to do with tiredness or boredom, it just cools the brain.”

The young woman explained the purpose of the study: “We wanted to find out whether animals with a larger brain and with more brain activity yawn longer.”

The obtained results confirmed the scientists’ initial hypothesis and they were able to establish many additional interesting facts, including that birds can yawn as well.

Furthermore, scientists found out that a panda yawns for 4.28 seconds on average, while a prairie dog takes only 1.93 seconds to yawn.

In addition, humans can yawn over 15 times a day and their yawn usually lasts for 7.33 seconds while kea birds ‘invest’ only 2.13 seconds per yawn on average.

Hartlieb, who spent hours in front of the zoo’s enclosures to collect data and capture the animals yawning with her video camera, said: “We analysed over 100 species of mammals and birds. With their enormous biodiversity, zoos play an important role in studies like this one.”

She added that the study has a pleasant outcome for humans as anyone caught yawning “can now blame it on their big brain!”

The study was published in the open access journal Communications Biology under the title ‘Brain size and neuron numbers drive differences in yawn duration across mammals and birds’.

Credit: Daniel Zupanc/Newsflash
A Siberian tiger yawning in the Tiergarten Schonbrunn Zoo in the city of Vienna in Austria.

To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Georgina JadikovskaSub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency:  Newsflash

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