Japan Research Team Confirms Dugong's Underwater Yawns

Society

Tsu, Mie Pref., March 14 (Jiji Press)--A research team led by Mie University has confirmed a dugong's underwater yawns for the first time at an aquarium in the central Japan prefecture of Mie.

It was the second time at least in Japan that a mammal living completely underwater to be seen yawning, after the university observed the same behavior by bottlenose dolphins.

The latest finding was published in an international journal on ethology in November last year. The results of the research into the dolphins' yawns had been announced in July the same year.

Yawning is a behavior that humans and other vertebrates do naturally mainly when they are feeling drowsy. A yawn is generally defined as an action that begins by a slow and large opening of the mouth with inhalation, followed by a maximum gaping phase, and ends with a short exhalation and the closing of the mouth.

The team observed a female dugong at the Toba Aquarium in the Mie city of Toba, the only dugong in captivity in Japan, for around 20 hours and confirmed her yawns.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press