Empathy or Imitation—Do Chimps Yawn Because They Care? – Answers in Genesis

While chimps, bonobos, and baboons catch yawns from each other, especially when strong social bonds exist, contagious yawns seem to have no intrinsic survival value, making the evolutionary impetus to select for such behavior enigmatic. By viewing caught yawns as evidence of empathy, however, evolutionary researchers can chalk them up to being a way of communicating cooperation with one’s group and then try to unravel their evolutionary basis along those lines.