Chasmology! The study of yawning! It’s a real thing! There’s even an international conference!

Everybody yawns!


Even human fetuses!


Seeing, reading, or thinking about yawning triggers more yawning in humans (except those of us with schizotypal personality traits). Contagious yawning happens more often when you’re warm and when you breathe through your mouth and most probably is a primal, uncontrollable expression of human empathy.


So it’s no surprise that children don’t yawn contagiously until they’re a few years old.


If you’re out with your Romeo or Juliette and they start to yawn, don’t fret! In people, yawning is triggered by some sex-related agents like oxytocin and androgen, and many males get sexually aroused when they yawn.


And one more thing, to set the record straight: Research shows we DO yawn when we’re bored, we DO yawn because we’re sleepy, and we do NOT yawn because of high CO2 levels or low O2 levels in the blood and brain.


By Roar.

By |December 19th, 2013|Backbones|2 Comments

Five Insects We Never Want to Have Sex With

1. Honey Bee Queensmillette_final_honeybee_02

2. Dragonfly Malesmillette_final_dragonfly2_023. Bedbugsmillette_final_bedbug2_024. Water boatmen males

Have you ever had that boyfriend who wants to sit around and play guitar just for you? What are you supposed to do? Smile politely? Sing along? Pretend Extreme’s “More Than Words” captures your shared feelings?

millette_final_boatmen_025. Cowpea Weevilsmillette_final_weevil4_02


Check our facts:

 1.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtKqic69xVo (honeybee queen)

2.  http://www.mndragonfly.org/biology.html (dragonfly)

3.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLaaqX6A3AU (bedbugs)

4.  http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0021089 (water boatmen)

5.  http://bugguide.net/node/view/12796 (water boatmen)

6. http://sciencenordic.com/bizarre-penis-shaved-scientists (Cowpea weevil)


Emily Millette is a designer living in North Carolina. She’d like you to know, that from where she’s sitting, this is the best week yet. Follow her on Twitter @emilymillette.

Creative Commons License
Insect Sex by Emily Millette is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

By |December 10th, 2013|Bugs|12 Comments

Guess that Age: It’s a Ringer!



Check our facts:








Devin Cremins is a graphic designer working in the Raleigh, NC area with a love of science and illustration. Visit octopusoddments.com to see more of her work or follow octopusoddments on tumblr.

Also special thanks to Julia Ellis, who really knows her sharks: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10641-006-9116-2.


By |December 4th, 2013|Backbones, No Backbones|3 Comments