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Chimps find human yawn contagious, but is it monkey see, monkey do?

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A young chimpanzee will yawn when a human does, regardless of whether the face is familiar, according to a study that suggests contagious yawning grows stronger in our primate cousins as they grow up.

Researchers yawned, gaped or wiped their nose in front of 33 chimpanzees orphaned by Central Africa’s illegal bush meat trade and housed at a Sierra Leone primate rehabilitation center. They expected the chimps would more readily copy their “mother,” a villager who feeds, cuddles and grooms the captive chimps, some of which arrived when they were a few months old.

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