Do animals laugh? Ask Smithsonian (Smithsonian.com)
Do animals laugh?
Lexile

Why couldnt the pony talk? Because he was a little horse.

But seriously, we dont know how the brain makes us laugh. But we can say that there are two kinds of laughter.

Complex social laughter is the kind that requires a sense of humor to get it. The other kind of laughter is in response to physical stimulation like tickling.

There is little evidence for a sense of humor in animals because animals can't tell us what they're thinking. But its pretty clear that at least some animals are capable of the second kind of laughter.

Chimps often vocalize something close to human laughter when tickled or chased. Although we need special machines to hear it, rats chirp during rough and tumble play and when tickled. And dogs pant in a special laughing way that gets other dogs to chill out and make them want to play.

Critical thinking challenge: Why do we need special instruments to hear rats laugh?

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COMMENTS (33)
  • ZandraHomer-Lar
    5/13/2014 - 11:52 a.m.

    I'm not to sure if animals do really laugh, and I cant tell because they sound the same when they make their animal noise... but some people might hear the difference between their noise and their laugh.

  • Mk11pink
    5/13/2014 - 01:08 p.m.

    Do aniamls tell jokes? The thought of animals laughing amazes me. I thought animals were very serious and hard working. But this just shows they are more like us

  • MackenzieSh
    5/13/2014 - 01:40 p.m.

    I think even though animals can't talk, or express emotion like we can, that it is very possible for them to laugh. Their way or playing is their way of laughing.

  • Q-Satow.1
    5/13/2014 - 08:09 p.m.

    We all know that us humans laugh all the time, weather it be by joke or hitting your ticklish spot. But do other animals laugh? We aren't really sure what triggers laughter, but there are two kinds. Complex social laughter, such as the chuckle you get after hearing a joke, and physical stimulation laughter, the kind that you get when you get tickled. Although we don't know if animals do complex social laughter, we are pretty sure that they can laugh due to physical stimulation. Chimps will emit something like human laughter when tickled, and rats chirp as they tumble and play in groups.
    I think that not all animals laugh, but the ones that have more developed brains do, laughter is a stimulation, in my opinion, similar to feelings such as love. So animals with higher developed feelings, can have and provoke laughter a lot more fluently then animals with less developed feelings.

  • WarrenB-4
    5/13/2014 - 09:35 p.m.

    Summary:
    This article is about determining if animals could laugh. We the people don't know of animals can laugh because, we don't know what they are saying. We laugh by a verbal joke. We also laugh by physical contact. Some animals make weird noises that might be laughter.

    Opinion:
    What if my pet fish could laugh?

  • NicoK-5
    5/13/2014 - 10:37 p.m.

    Do animals laugh? It's a good assumption. There are two kinds of laughter, complex and physical. Research shows that some animals are capable of physical laughter. Like dogs, rats and apes.
    I think this is a cute article. I would like to hear a dog laugh.

  • samanthacr-Koc
    5/13/2014 - 11:35 p.m.

    We need special instruments to hear rats laugh because it's not to our ears. They're speaking what we would call animal, like we speak English or human talk. To be able to understand them we would have to be able to speak animal. That's what makes it difficult we don't have the ability to understand what their sounds and body gestures mean. Therefor in order to tell we'd need a certain machine.

  • NP30yankee
    5/14/2014 - 08:39 a.m.

    This is just another thing that makes animals so fascinating. To think of animals performing actions like humans is truly amazing but it's not surprising to me because we still don't know everything their is to know about animals.

  • amandad-
    5/14/2014 - 10:57 a.m.

    This article is about animals laughter that give signals. The reason they use a special instruments to see rats laugh is because the rats are quiet. People can't hear them laugh.

  • brady.q-
    5/14/2014 - 11:02 a.m.

    The story is all about animals if animals do laugh. . The rats are quiet they don't make to much noises they chirp. When dogs get exited they pant because, some dogs are happy to see you. The rats are quiet so they need special instruments so they can hear them laugh and make noise.

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