“the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” (a typist’s challenge), but the lazy red fox napped all afternoon in my neighbor’s backyard. I bet it was a hard night hunting enough food for a litter of fox kits somewhere in the neighborhood.
As usual, watching the fox made me wonder about the yawning behavior. What is it, really, and why do we do it?
Yawning is contagious — even thinking about yawning makes me want to do it. And a huge variety of different animals have been observed to engage in yawning, usually in association with resting or sleeping.
Dogs supposedly will yawn when they see their owners yawning; try it on your pet and see if this works.
Some people claim that the contagion of yawning is related to the empathy between animals or between animals and humans. Others claim the primary function of yawning and the deep inhalation of breath that accompanies the yawn is to increase oxygenation to the brain, or perhaps to cool the brain, by bringing increased blood flow from the cooler facial areas that are stretched during yawning. No one really knows for sure.