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Ntomi 3:3 Male

Ntomi 3:3 Male

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Kelsey Clark

Guest contributor

Kelsey has many fond memories of family camping trips across South Africa when she was growing up and for her, this sparked a growing love for the wilderness and opportunities to seek new adventures. Although she studied BComm Financial Management and spent five ...

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on The Contagious Yawning Phenomenon and Synchronised Behaviour

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How interesting Kelsey, thanks for sharing your insights about the act of yawning. We are all creatures of habit and can be influenced by the behavior of others around us. Such as mob behavior.

My pleasure William – we certainly are all creatures of habit!

Thanks, Kelsey, for this interesting article. I even had to yawn when I saw the first picture. So, I probably feel empathy towards these lions and leopards. Which in fact, I do.
And, wow, their canines are really impressive. Wonderful photos.

I’m glad you enjoyed it Christa… and that it stirred further empathy towards the lions and leopards! 🙂

So interesting Kelsey to hear that contagious yawning in the wild triggers empathy and is a silent language between the lions. With humans if one yawns in the conversation, then it is as if everyone else also wants to yawn, and it makes you feel sleepy. Usually with the leopards, they yawn and stretch and then they get up to start hunting.

Thanks Valmai, I’m glad you could relate some of your personal experiences, especially with the leopard!

funny to think about! have you ever seen a giraffe yawn?! tried very hard NOT to yawn thru the post! but you got me! interesting read! 🙂

Haha sorry I got you there Anita, but glad you enjoyed the blog! 🙂

Senior Digital Ranger

Ok Kelsey, how many times did You yawn while writing this piece.🥱🤫

Haha a lot more than I would like to admit Ann! 🙂

Super informative post Kelsey, and I literally yawned at the sight of the Ntomi male’s gaping yawn!

Haha thanks Paul! Sorry I got you there but hope you enjoyed the pictures 🙂

Interesting article Kelsey as yawning among humans seems to represent a few factors: tiredness, boredom or seeing someone else who’s yawning. In the safari world, mostly we’re told as we watch the big cats, yawning tends to represent patrolling and or hunting is their next move after resting. However, it seems that again, that researchers actually don’t know exactly what yawning signals. It could be a social element within lion prides but for other non-social species, questionable. Something more to think about.

Thanks Denise, it is all very fascinating and more to discover as you say! 🙂

Hi Kelsey, you got me into my “matter of facts”! When writing my second thesis in animal behaviour, I tried to introduce and dig into mirror neurons and empathy (even though it was not so appreciated ten years ago as today’s), I found only findings in humans, apes and cats. So the pictures of those magnificent big cats are really the start point! In humans it is caused by lack of oxygen in the brain as well. I wonder if animals do that in order to wake up properly and get more oxygen to their brain. The rutuals of union are – nowadays- an undoubted sign of empathy. I always talked of lioness Kamunyak and her “adopted” baby oryx to sceptical people. It went against any dna protection and need of getting fit. So, thank you for this beautiful article and fantastic pictures. Giraffe have their own way to maximise the oxygen intake, i just love the last picture!

Thank you for your insightful response Francesca! All so fascinating and still a lot to learn. Glad you enjoyed the blog and pictures 🙂

Thanks Kelsey, that’s very interesting. I’m always happy if I can manage to get a good photo of one of the cats yawning, though you need to be quick! And now it’s time for my nap….

Thanks Suzanne – You do need to be quick! Enjoy your nap 🙂

An interesting topic for sure. I was discussing yawning with my acupuncturist not long ago, and in Chinese medicine it’s seen as a very positive movement of energy. In cultures where yawning is considered rude (and it’s anything but) we stifle our yawns and keep our energy stuck. Since then I’ve made a conscious effort to embrace my yawns more as a method for nervous system regulation as well as for having more genuine compassion for the intelligence of my body. It feels good to yawn, both physically and emotionally, knowing I am ignoring ridiculous social constructs that don’t have our best interests in mind. It’s very grounding.

Thanks for sharing that Chelsea, very interesting to hear and I couldn’t agree more! Will be embracing my yawns a lot more going forward 🙂

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10 April, 2798
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