Yawning is part of what makes us human

What may become 2010's Conference of the Year has just been announced. The International Congress of Chasmology will take place in June in Paris, and papers are solicited now. Anyone bored by that statement should read further, for the topic to be discussed is not diving but yawning ('chasmology' deriving from the Greek word for the pastime).

First International Conference on Yawning
Paris, 24 - 25 juin 2010
Yawning is a very common and phylogenetically old behavioural event that occurs in vertebrates under different conditions. Yawning appeared very early in vertebrate history, with contagiousness evolving much later.
Yawning has many consequences, including opening of the eustachian tube, tearing, inflating the lungs, stretching and signaling drowsiness, but these may be incidental to its primal function which may something as unanticipated as sculpting the articulation of the gaping jaw during embryonic development.
Collected from: ficy_index

Collected from: YouTube - yawning

Common Yawning Theories

  • The Physiological Theory -- Our bodies induce yawning to drawn in more oxygen or remove a build-up of carbon dioxide. This theory helps explain why we yawn in groups. Larger groups produce more carbon dioxide, which means our bodies would act to draw in more oxygen and get rid of the excess carbon dioxide. However, if our bodies make us yawn to drawn in needed oxygen, wouldn't we yawn during exercise? Robert Provine, a psychologist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a leading expert on yawning, has tested this theory. Giving people additional oxygen didn't decrease yawning and decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide in a subject's environment also didn't prevent yawning.
  • The Evolution Theory -- Some think that yawning is something that began with our ancestors, who used yawning to show their teeth and intimidate others. An offshoot of this theory is the idea that yawning developed from early man as a signal for us to change activities.
  • The Boredom Theory -- In the dictionary, yawning is said to be caused by boredom, fatigue or drowsiness. Although we do tend to yawn when bored or tired, this theory doesn't explain why Olympic athletes yawn right before they compete in their event. It's doubtful that they are bored with the world watching them.

Yawning may signal sexual attraction

A yawn may signal that a person wants to have sex, among other things.

Yesterday, at the International Conference on Yawning, scientists presented the latest theory on yawning. The new revelation is based on reports from sexologists that many of their patients yawn during sex and foreplay.

Front Neurol Neurosci. 2010;28:55-62. Epub 2010 Mar 26.

The hidden sexuality of the yawn and the future of chasmology.

Yawning is part of what makes us human - Telegraph
YouTube - yawning
Discovery Health "What makes us yawn?"
Yawning may signal sexual attraction - Asylum.co.uk
The hidden sexuality of the yawn and the future of... [Front Neurol Neurosci. 2010] - PubMed result

Yawn - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Yawn - Scholarpedia
Yawning is a sign of sexual attraction, scientists claim - Telegraph
Yawning 'a sign of sexual attraction'
Wolter Seuntjens | Introduction