animals laugh

New Study Says 65 Different Species of Animals Laugh

It’s no secret that humans laugh but it’s a somewhat strange part of our evolution. It’s clear that we laugh at something funny showing friendliness or cooperation but how did it come about? Are we the only ones to do it?

According to a recent study, we aren’t the only ones.

UCLA professor of communication Greg Bryant and Primatologist and UCLA anthropology graduate student Sasha Winker have taken an in-depth look into laughter throughout the animal kingdom.

They looked through the existing research on animal play behaviour looking for any mention of vocal play signals which could be seen as laughter.

They found that this vocal behaviour was documented in at least 65 species. The list consists of domestic cows, dogs, a variety of primates, foxes, seals, mongooses, and three species of birds including Australian magpies and parakeets.

Bryant said:

“This work lays out nicely how a phenomenon once thought to be particularly human turns out to be closely tied to behaviour shared with species separated from humans by tens of millions of years,”

Winkler said:

“When we laugh, we are often providing information to others that we are having fun and also inviting others to join. Some scholars have suggested that this kind of vocal behaviour is shared across many animals who play, and as such, laughter is our human version of an evolutionarily old vocal play signal.”

They both agree that further observation and research into vocalisations would be ideal but, it can be hard to come by in the wild.

You can read the study here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09524622.2021.1905065?journalCode=tbio20

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