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Old 10-21-2012, 10:29 PM   #1 
homegrown terror
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Tennessee
i think i may have solved a HUGE mystery!

science has never been able to explain why animals and people yawn. there have been hypotheses of a varied sort, everything from increasing oxygen consumption to regulating body temperature, but evidence to support these theories is shaky at best.

i think the answer lies not in physiology but in behavior. when an animal yawns, its jaws are stretched as wide as they possibly can. this is a common action of many animals when they feel threatened or vulnerable, to open its mouth wide, bare teeth (if they're of the toothy variety) and generally try to present an intimidating visage. it would make sense for this behavior to be an instinctive ritual for tired animals about to go to sleep. by instinctively yawning before laying down, the last impression they make upon the world is one that very clearly says "don't you DARE mess with me!"and this could be a healthy deterrent to any would-be predators that could be lurking nearby.

i think this also explains the classic "contagious yawn" phenomenon: social animals, which humans definitely are, take behavioral cues, particularly those which act on a level of involuntary instinct from each other. seeing one person/animal yawn would communicate subconsciously that it's time for the entire group/herd to lay down, and would trigger the same yawn-before-rest reaction in the other members of the group.

anyone with an legitimate background in biology wanna refute my theory, or does it actually have merit and potential?
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:54 PM   #2 
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I don't know. All I know is that I yawn every 5 minutes in church. Actually I yawn a lot everywhere.
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:11 PM   #3 
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oohhh I like your idea :D
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:29 PM   #4 
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Makes sense to me.
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:30 PM   #5 
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Location: Springfield, Va
What about yawning when not being intimidating or laying down to rest?

The only explaination I've ever heard was to increase oxygen intake. I mean I've tested this on myself and stopped breathing for about 10 seconds and it does make you want to yawn.

I didn't know there were theories, I just assumed that science had explained it.
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Old 10-22-2012, 04:49 PM   #6 
Kitty Whiskers
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All I know is that I yawned the whole time reading this...Not that it is boring, or that I am tired, it is because if I see or read about someone yawning, I can't help but yawn too LOL
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Old 10-22-2012, 06:48 PM   #7 
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wow. that my friend, was genius. Its these types of little things that one day, you just come to understand :)

well, i learned sometHing new today!
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Old 10-24-2012, 12:27 PM   #8 
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Location: Bay Shore, NY
I peronally still like the low oxygen levels theory. I know the defense of it is shakey, as well as my reason for liking it, but I do feel like low oxygen levels trigger yawning for me. When I'm about the fall asleep my body slows down everything including breathing. When I don't breath at normal levels or deeply, my asthma can mess up how much oxygen gets to my lungs (I have good Aveoli and constantly inflamed bronchial tubes XD). So, I feel like I yawn more than the average person because I don't get as much oxygen as the normal person.

However, I will admit that explains excessive yawning when I'm tired and my body is slowing down to less frequent breathing rates. Your idea could explain why animals that have no trouble breathing yawn anyway. :)
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