Navigation Links
Apes Love a Good Laugh, Too
Date:6/4/2009

Tickled chimps, orangutans show signs of human-like mirth, researchers say

THURSDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- Apes may not be ready for the cast of Saturday Night Live, but they sure love a good giggle, new research suggests.

Led by Marina Davila Ross, a primatologist at the University of Portsmouth in England, the research team tickled 22 young apes and three human babies to see how they would respond. While none of the apes would make it onto a sitcom laugh track, the vocalizations were comparable to how humans respond to similar stimulus.

The study is the first to record laugh-like behavior in apes, although there has been anecdotal evidence of such behavior in the wild, said Michael J. Owren, a team member and associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Georgia State University, in Atlanta.

The laughter "seemed like an expression of joy," said Davila Ross, a research fellow in the department of psychology. "It seemed to me that the subjects enjoyed the attention and the positive interaction with their caretakers, and did not show much attempt to leave when the tickling session was over."

The researchers, using more than 800 acoustic recordings, compared the laughter sounds of all four great ape species -- chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans -- and acoustically analyzed and compared them to human laughter. Despite clear differences between ape and human laughter, the results showed that laughter is not a uniquely human trait, the scientists said.

The team then examined the sounds "phylogenetically" -- that is, how they corresponded to well-established evolutionary similarities and differences between the different apes species and humans. The research provided strong evidence that laughter in great apes and humans has its origins with mankind's evolutionary ancestors.

In fact, the researchers point to the origin of laughter in a common primate ancestor that lived between 10 million and 16 million years ago.

The findings were published online June 4 in the journal Current Biology.

"This is a very nice study which shows that when we sometimes compare the primate playface with laughing, we're actually correct," said Frans B.M. de Waal, a professor of primate behavior at Emory University, in Atlanta. "Some critics have argued that such terminology is anthropomorphic or that human laughing is a unique display in the animal world. But, in fact, there is a homology not just based on the facial expression, which we have suspected since Darwin, but also in the details of the breathing patterns and sounds of the display."

The study did not examine what -- if any -- connections exist between ape laughter and the development of humor, or precisely why the sounds evolved from short bursts into the voiced laughter of humans. In a surprising finding, however, gorillas and bonobos were able to make laughter sounds while exhaling longer than expected. This ability was thought to be unique to humans and to have played an important role in the evolution of speech, the researchers said.

Scientists not involved with the research said they were intrigued by the study and predicted it would contribute to the evolving view of primates, especially those in captivity.

"This kind of behavior does not surprise me," said Diana Reiss, professor of cognitive psychology at Hunter College in New York City, and an expert in animal communication. "We're finding many continuities between humans and the great apes. You see these behaviors and you see something you can relate to."

The late comedian John Belushi, star of Saturday Night Live and the movie Animal House, probably would have agreed.

More information

To learn more about primate behavior, visit the Yerkes National Primate Research Center.



SOURCES: Diana Reiss, Ph.D., professor, cognitive psychology, Hunter College, New York City; Frans B.M. de Waal, professor, primate behavior, Emory University, Atlanta; Marina Davila Ross, Ph.D., research fellow, department of psychology, University of Portsmouth, England; Michael J. Owren, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, Georgia State University, Atlanta; June 4, 2009, Current Biology, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Apes Love a Good Laugh, Too
(Date:9/25/2017)... , ... September 25, 2017 , ... Bobbie Horowitz was ... Osteoarthritis and multiple health issues. As a cabaret and theater producer, Horowitz would manage ... main source of transportation in New York City, so she had to take a ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... ... September 25, 2017 , ... Physician Partners of America ... at 5304 Main Street as an interventional pain management specialist. , Dr. Gorman ... He joins PPOA from private practice In Brooksville, Fla. His orthopedic background puts him ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... Charles, LA (PRWEB) , ... September 25, 2017 , ... ... in Lake Charles, LA. “I could not imagine doing anything else,” said Dr. Hebert. ... me each and every day. The interactions with my patients is what I look ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... ... September 25, 2017 , ... “The Majestic Unicorn”: a poignant ... “The Majestic Unicorn” is the creation of published author, Dayna Chantel, an artist and ... far and wide to march aboard the cypress ark-vessel. Male and female, no matter ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... VA (PRWEB) , ... September 25, 2017 , ... ... and Response Preconference Workshop, **Presented by FDAnews**, Nov. 1-3, 2017 – Bethesda, MD, ... drugmaker passed with flying colors. And then, on the tenth inspection it failed. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/12/2017)... MOUNTAIN LAKES, N.J. , Sept. 12, 2017  Consumer reviews ... Embrace Hearing as the number one company for hearing ... Oticon™, ReSound™ and fifteen other brands. ... Embrace Hearing Named #1 by Consumers For Hearing Aids ... Embrace Hearing is an online store that ...
(Date:9/9/2017)... INDIANAPOLIS , Sept. 9, 2017  Eli Lilly ... key primary and secondary endpoint data for lasmiditan, an ... migraine, which demonstrated statistically significant improvements compared to placebo ... be highlighted today at the 18th Congress of the ... . "The data presented today demonstrate lasmiditan,s ...
(Date:9/7/2017)... STOCKHOLM , Sept. 7, 2017 NuvoAir ... Air Smart Spirometer, announced today a partnership with Novartis Pharma ... partnership solidifies NuvoAir,s position as the leading mobile spirometry platform ... respiratory patients. ... spirometry test ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: