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6 months to teach a tortoise to yawn

world Updated: Oct 07, 2011 00:44 IST

After spending six months teaching a tortoise to yawn, a professor in Britain remarked: “Training the tortoise to yawn was very hard.”

Anna Wilkinson spent a good six months to teach a red-footed tortoise to yawn in a study on reptile behaviour, The Sun reported.

The research didn’t end there.

Another few months were spent encouraging the pupil into doing it in front of other tortoises to see if they too would yawn. They didn’t.

Wilkinson of the University of Lincoln has won an Ig Nobel prize for her effort.

The annual prize is handed out at America’s Harvard University by the science humour magazine Annals of Improbable Research for studies that “first make people laugh, then think”.

“This award will raise the profile of research into reptile behaviour. It’s important to get over the serious side of what we do. Training the tortoise to yawn was very hard,” Wilkinson was quoted as saying.