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Yawn-like behavior in captive common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)

By A. Enokizu, T. Morisaka, K. Murakami, N. Sakurai, N. Ueda, M. Yoshioka

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Yawning is an involuntary action that begins with a slow opening of the mouth with inhalation, followed by a maximum gaping phase, and ends with a short exhalation and the closing of the mouth. A wide variety of vertebrate species, including humans, yawn. Here, we report underwater yawn-like behavior in three captive common bottlenose dolphins, inferred from 119-h of observations. Five cases of yawn-like behavior were selected out of 2045 open-mouth behaviors, after removing intentional open-mouth behaviors. Yawn-like behaviors were chosen that had a mouth open–close duration ratio of ≤ 1 (duration of Phase 3, the period of mouth closing after maximum opening, divided by the duration of Phase 1, the period of mouth opening from start to maximum opening). Naïve human evaluators selected “yawn-like” behaviors. All five cases of yawn-like behavior occurred during inactive periods, similar to human yawns. In three of the five cases, inactivity levels significantly decreased within 4 min after the yawn-like behavior; therefore, yawn-like behavior in dolphins may increase their arousal level in drowsy states. Thus, the yawn-like behavior of dolphins, without breathing, is similar to yawning in terrestrial animals, including humans.

Date 2021
Publication Title Behav Processes
Volume 189
ISBN/ISSN 0376-6357
Publisher Elsevier
DOI 10.1016/j.beproc.2021.104444
Author Address Graduate School of Bioresources, Mie University, 1577 Kurimamachiya-cho, Tsu, Mie, 514-8507, Japan.chaka@bio.mie-u.ac.jp
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Analytics
  2. Animals
  3. Anthrozoology
  4. Aquacultural and fisheries
  5. Aquatic Biology and Ecology
  6. Behavioral research
  7. Biodiversity
  8. Biological resources
  9. Biology
  10. Dolphins
  11. Ecology
  12. Inhalation
  13. Mammals
  14. Marine animals
  15. Marine mammals
  16. Marines
  17. Organisms
  18. vertebrates
  19. Whales
  20. Wild animals
  21. Zoology