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Dogs Find Human Yawns Contagious


Dogs find human yawns contagious, suggesting they have a rudimentary capacity for empathy, British scientists say.

Contagious yawning, triggered by seeing others yawning, has previously only been shown to occur in humans and chimpanzees.

It seems that man's best friend is highly sensitive to catching human yawns, with 72 per cent of 29 dogs tested yawning after observing a person doing so.

In the Biology Letters journal, Atsushi Senju and colleagues at London's Birkbeck College said this behaviour showed dogs were skilled at reading human social cues and "may relate to their capacity for empathy".


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