No Joke. Animals Laugh Too.

May 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Feeling Positive

Do animals laugh?

Do animals laugh?

Life can be funny, right? Want to get a good laugh? There’s now evidence that life can be equally funny for non-human animals.

Studies by various animal behaviorists suggest that monkeys, dogs, cats, and even rats love a good laugh.

The neural circuits for laughter exist in very ancient regions of the brain, and ancestral forms of play and laughter existed in other animals eons before we humans came along with our ha-ha-has and verbal repartee, says Jaak Panksepp, a neuroscientist at Bowling Green State University.

When chimps play and chase each other they pant in a manner that is strikingly similar to human laughter. Dogs have a similar response, and cats have their own version.

Rats chirp while they play in a way that resembles human giggles. Panksepp found in a previous study that when rats are playfully tickled, they chirp and bond socially with their human tickler. And they seem to like it, seeking to be tickled more. And apparently joyful rats also preferred to hang out with other chirpers.

Laughter in humans starts young, another clue that it’s a deep-seated brain function. Young children laugh and shriek abundantly in the midst of their other rough-and-tumble activities, Panksepp notes.

Meanwhile, there’s the question of what’s so darn funny in the animal world. Science has traditionally deemed animals incapable of joy. Panksepp’s response: Although some still regard laughter as a uniquely human trait, apparently the joke’s on them.

What do YOU think about this? Has your dog, cat. rat or elephant ever laughted?



2 Responses to “No Joke. Animals Laugh Too.”
  1. Bob Riberts says:

    Hey guys, this has to be the GREATEST blog on the web. I just love the information (and laughs) you provide. And YES, my dog laughs, my cats have special “we are having fun” sounds when they play, and my parrot IS capable of making human sounding laughter. Guess the laugh is on me.

  2. Jane Myers says:

    There is no doubt about animals laughing. My dog used to look at me and give me a smile and a grunt-like-sound that did sound like laughter. But my greatest
    experience has been with some of my birds. I have an African Grey Parrot, who, when appropriate, laughs. Sometimes he sounds like me, and other times, it is his own laughter. He is exceptionally intelligent and there is no doubt in my mind that he thinks. And, it seems he “reads” me…. if I am having a challenge, he will talk, sing, and laugh. It’s as if he is telling me to “lighten up”. I BELIEVE he is. I have been tuning into him more and realize, he is here to teach me, not necessarily me to teach him. And, when he drops something, or something doesn’t go exactly the way he thinks it should, he will
    laugh…and I must say, I then laugh right along with him.

    Do appreciate and enjoy our animal friends.

    With Love and Gratitude,

    Jane Myers

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