Can dogs “catch” yawning from humans?
We know yawning is contagious in humans, now some experts may have discovered a new twist on this. For the first time, researchers have evidence that shows yawning by humans may trigger the same reaction in our canine friends.
In the past, contagious yawning had been thought to occur only in humans and chimpanzees. Then, during a study at the Birkbeck University in London, 21 out of 29 dogs were observed watching humans yawn and then responding with yawns of their own.
The British researchers say this “… may indicate that dogs possess the capacity for a rudimentary form of empathy.” Still, they are cautious and say more investigation is needed.
The report appears in the Royal Society Journal Biology Letters. A press release about the study was posted August 5 on the Birkbeck website.