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Javelina Yawns

John W. Pinkerton


There I was---flipping through the channels of my big
screen TV---when I paused to watch a closeup of a javelina yawning.  In response, I yawned back.  Immediately I realized I had stepped off into unexplored territory. 

I wondered if a javelina can make me yawn, can I make a javelina yawn.  Oh, Hell…it's come down to this.

It's pretty obvious that if we yawn in front of a group of folks, many will involuntarily yawn in response to our yawn.

The “contagious” yawn is common among chimpanzees, dogs, cats, birds, and reptiles and does happen between different species---like javelinas and…me.

As to the reason or the purpose of the yawn, give it up.  Although we usually associate yawning with boredom or sleepiness…well, we're just not sure.  Theorists have come up with about twenty reasons none of which has been selected as the likely reason we yawn.   By the way, sexual arousal has been found to trigger yawning…go figure.  This makes me wonder how often the yawners have sex.

All that I'm able to make of this research is that although we don't share career aspirations with the javelina, we do share yawning…good enough…and I'm just not going to think about it anymore.