American psychologist Andrew Gallup has proposed a new theory that explains the origin of yawning in humans and other mammals. According to this scientist, the yawn developed in the community as a signal to warn members of the tribe that one of their members has lost their vigilance and may need additional protection from predators. An article about this was published in the journal. Animal Behavior.
Many previous studies that have attempted to answer the question of why humans yawn have also linked yawning to some form of evolutionary achievement. “Contagious” yawning may be spreading some important signals between different social groups. There has also been popular speculation that animals yawn to replenish oxygen, cool their brains, and even exercise their lungs more often.
If yawning did indeed develop as a social signal to alert other members of a group that an individual is becoming less alert, this may also explain the “contagious yawning” phenomenon, the yawn reflex after seeing or hearing another person yawn. , – this may also indicate the need to double the vigilance between different groups of social animals.
Considering that this behavior evolved on the African plains hundreds of thousands of years ago and is no longer relevant to modern humans, it is likely that yawning will eventually disappear. Previous analyzes had already shown a positive correlation between yawning time and brain size; this means that the larger the brain, the more actively its owner yawns.