Wild Things: Yawning Chimps, Humpback Whales and More...
Leaping beetles, Pacific salmon, prehistoric mammals and other news updates in wildlife research
- By Arcynta Ali Childs, T.A. Frail, Megan Gambino, Laura Helmuth and Sarah Zielinski
- Smithsonian magazine, June 2011
Chimpanzee Yawning (Tim Davis / Corbis)
Human beings aren’t the only animals to yawn when they see another of their kind doing the same. So do dogs and some primates, including chimpanzees. But in a new study at Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta, chimps appear to make an intriguing distinction: they were more likely to yawn in response to a member of their immediate group than to strangers. Researchers say “contagious yawning” is a sign of empathy. Parents say covering your yawn is a sign of good manners.
"Ingroup-Outgroup Bias in Contagious Yawning by Chimpanzees Supports Link to Empathy," Matthew W. Campbell and Frans B. M. de Waal, PLoS ONE, April 2011
"Dental Occlusion in a 260-Million-Year-Old Therapsid with Saber Canines from the Permian of Brazil," Juan Carlos Cisneros et al., Science, March 25, 2011
"Wind-Powered Wheel Locomotion, Initiated by Leaping Somersaults, in Larvae of the Southeastern Beach Tiger Beetle (Cicindela dorsalis media)," Alan Harvey and Sarah Zukoff, PLoS ONE, March 23, 2011
"Impacts of Salmon on Riparian Plant Diversity," Morgan D. Hocking and John D. Reynolds, Science, March 25, 2011
"Dynamic Horizontal Cultural Transmission of Humpback Whale Song at the Ocean Basin Scale," Ellen C. Garland et al., Current Biology, April 14, 2011