I suspect some whales can get bored. We see something close to it in
the lagoons of Baja as the mother waits for the calf to size-up before
You may have noticed that terrestrial mammals have the ability to
breathe through their mouths as well as the nostrils. Whales do not. A
full-blown mammalian yawn in the traditional sense requires this
ability to breathe through the mouth.
In a yawn, the movement of the jaws is what clears the ears, not the
passage of air/breathing. The stretch and relax thing is also facial
muscular and has nothing to do with the nose (or in the case of whales,
Technically, an acceptable definition of yawn is to simply to open
wide. If we segregate the breathing aspect of the conventional
mammalian yawn, whale do yawn. I've seen it in humpbacks, grays, and
orcas. Humpbacks sometimes get an object caught in the throat. It could
be a fish too large to fit down the hole or a piece of wood. They will
yawn (open wide) attempting to dislodge the inappropriate object from
On Nov 3, 2003, at 5:53 AM, Teresa J. Parli wrote:
> Actually my real question is..Do whales yawn?
> Other mammals do. The yawn is of some slight mystery.. It expands
> the lungs, moistens the eyes, clears the ears,stretches and relaxes,
> is a sign of fatigue and is contagious (even between species). Do
> whales ever give a long blow holed fin stretching yawn?
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