On Contagious Yawning in the Red-Footed Tortoise

Scientists know a bit more about contagious yawning – one of science’s utter mysteries – than they did a year ago, thanks to a study called No Evidence of Contagious Yawning in the Red-Footed Tortoise,Geochelone carbonaria. The study’s authors say their experiments, conducted with seven tortoises, might help eliminate some of the many competing theories as to why humans yawn when they see other humans yawn.

Writing in the journal Current Zoology, Anna Wilkinson [pictured here], Isabella Mand and Ludwig Huber of the University of Vienna, Austria, and Natalie Sebanz of Radboud University in the Netherlands, explain…

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.