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Do animals laugh like we humans do?

Can animals laugh like we humans do?

Want to know if animals can laugh too? Then you've come to the right place! When we laugh, we open our mouths wide and show our teeth, while laughter lines appear around our eyes and we make typical laughing sounds. We do this when something amuses us or gives us pleasure, to encourage others to laugh with us, but also to relieve ourselves in situations of tension. Laughter is an innate, emotional expression of us humans - and is particularly important for communication in the community. But can animals also laugh as loudly and amusedly as we do?

In this article, I would like to explain to you the extent to which joyful laughter can also be heard in the animal world - and which animals are most likely to show it. Let's go!

Can animals laugh?

The call of the Australian hunter kingfisher, also better known as laughing Hans, for example, sounds like a loud laugh. However, according to current scientific knowledge, it is not an exclamation of joy. That's how it is with many animals: they only look or sound like they are giggling or laughing. So do they really exist? Animals that laugh emotionally and show joy through their facial features and sounds?

"All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it."

Samuel Butler

The answer is YES! That's exactly what primatologist Sasha Winkler and communication researcher Greg Bryant did in their study Play vocalisations and human laughter: a comparative reviewfound out. The aim was to investigate common evolutionary roots between humans and animals. Among others, they studied rats, dolphins, parrots and foxes.

The result? The sounds are quite different in animal laughter, but their Function is proven to be the same. The laughter should ultimately underpin the friendly intention and prevent a possible escalation.

Tip: Can animals actually cry too? You get the answer in the linked post!

Which animals can laugh?

What animals can laugh? Gorilla and fox

Previous studies have mainly focused on visual play signals between the animals. However, the extensive study led by the team of Sasha Winkler and Greg Bryant focused primarily on Vocalizations - and has shown that there really are countless species in the animal world that are capable of emotional laughter.

For the sake of clarity, here is a somewhat abridged version Animal species listfor which the researchers playful laughter have confirmed:

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Budgies
  • Foxes
  • Dolphins
  • Killer whales
  • European badger
  • Chimpanzees
  • Bonobo monkeys
  • Gorillas
  • White-handed gibbon
  • Anubispavian
  • Japanmakak
  • Golden lion monkey
  • Degus
  • American mink
  • Gray mouse macaws
  • Elephants
  • Flute crows
  • Long-tailed cat
  • Rats
  • Seals
  • Sea lions
  • Cattle
  • Mongoose
  • Bisons
  • Parrots
  • Australian magpies

In total, laughing play sounds were detected in 65 animals studied. Particularly in vertebrates such as birds, reptiles and fish, it is only possible to analyze play vocalizations to a limited extent. This is another reason why it is likely that there are countless other animal species that can laugh (with each other).

Many animals can laugh too, just like us humans!

Animals may not have a sense of humor or tell each other jokes - but they laugh together, just like us! The laughter just sounds different, but looks very similar and has a similar meaning. Animals tell each other and us that they are doing well and that they are in a good mood.

"Nothing in the world is as contagious as laughter and good humor."

Charles Dickens (more at Joy of Life Quotes)

The findings from the study provide us with important approaches to better understand the evolution of human social interaction. At the same time, however, they also make us unmistakably aware that Animals are sentient beings are that feel joy and pain, just as we humans do.

Stay curious and animal-friendly,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS.: Look with pleasure still something in the animal welfare blog around. Learn now, for example, why animal welfare is so important.

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, as I receive a small share of the proceeds - and of course nothing changes in the product price. Many thanks for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

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