Following on the heels of the Rats giggle too post comes this NPR story on great apes laughing when they’re tickled. It’s based on research published in Current Biology comparing the laughter of humans, bonobos, gorillas, chimps, and orangutans. A neuroscientist named Marina Davila Ross, of the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom, visited zoos and watched young apes get tickled by caretakers. She recorded the sounds of babies from all five species and compared the acoustic features.
The results? Everyone’s cracking up! She says the apes were having a great time. And by the looks of it, so were the caretakers.
Here’s a video from Discovery News:
And in case you couldn’t hear the gorilla laughing, here is Discovery News’s follow-up video a couple of days later:
Robert Provine, a neuroscientist at the University of Maryland who studies laughter, sums it up. He says,
I think that it’s about time we get out there, start tickling the dogs and the cats, and the pigs, the rats, as well as the chimpanzees. I think we’ll learn a lot about what we have in common, as well as our differences.
For more info, see “A 10-million-year-old laugh” at Science magazine.