Chimps can "catch" yawn from yawning toons

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London, Sept 9 (ANI): Yawning is so contagious that it can provoke teeth-baring yawns in chimpanzees, a new research has found.

"Contagious yawning" is well known among humans, and previous research has shown that chimps are not immune to its suggestive influence either.

However, the new research by scientists from Emory University in Atlanta, US, is the first to show that computer animations of yawning chimps provoke the same irresistible grins in real chimps, reports The BBC.

The study has been described in the Royal Society journal, Proceedings B.

Matthew Campbell, a researcher from Emory University's Yerkes National Primate Research Center and lead author of the study, said: "We're interested in using animation for presenting stimuli to animals, because we can control all the features of what we show them."

Campbell said that there was evidence that chimps "process animated faces the same way they process photographs of faces".

He said: "It's not a real chimpanzee, but it kind of looks like a chimpanzee, and they're responding to that."

Campbell and his team, including Devyn Carter who designed the animations, showed the animals the yawning sequences.

"We also had the animations doing other movements with their mouths that the chimps often do. The chimps showed a lot more yawning during the yawn video than when the control videos were playing," he said. (ANI)

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