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November 16 2012

Yawns Also Contagious in Bonobos

For most people, witnessing a yawn -- or even thinking about yawning -- creates an irresistible urge to yawn, too. And contagious yawning, it turns out, is yet another feature we share in common with many species of primates.

To investigate hypotheses about the cause of the phenomenon, Italian researchers looked at a group of 12 captive bonobos, which are highly social animals that cultivate strong relationships. Recent research also found that bonobo brains are relatively well developed in an area that detects distress in themselves and in others.

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