Elephants Observed Yawning for the First Time

Shaunacy Ferro
iStock / iStock

Pachyderms need a little yawn and stretch in the early hours of the morning, too. Elephants have been caught yawning for the first time by scientists from the University of California, Davis.

Both African and Asian elephants yawn, especially in the late evening and early morning, according to a report presented at the Animal Behavior Society’s annual meeting in mid-June.

The scientists define a yawn as “prolonged opening of the jaw with posture momentarily frozen and jaw closing rapidly,” with “no reasonable explanation related to eating.” They identified 18 elephants yawning, observed in hour-long videos from a dozen zoos around the world, as well as live observations at a zoo.

Elephants are not the only yawners in the animal kingdom: chimps, dogs, parakeets, and rats all do it. However, it’s not clear whether elephants can catch each other’s yawns, as those animals can. That’s a goal for another study.

[h/t: The Science of Us]