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 (195)
  • Laurin Rippy
    5/13/2014 - 09:52 a.m.

    We need instruments to hear the rats laugh because our ears can't pick it up. It's either way too soft, or it's too high or too low.

  • Dalton_spooner
    5/13/2014 - 09:53 a.m.

    I think that all animals do laugh because we all are not that different because it just are vocal cords that help us laugh and all people and animals can laugh.

  • briona0311
    5/13/2014 - 09:55 a.m.

    I think if animals could talk and we could understand them I think they would laugh. We need special instruments to hear rats laugh because they are so small.

  • Dynasty22
    5/13/2014 - 09:55 a.m.

    I don't necessarily know if animals can laugh, but if they could then that would be very cool. This would also mean that animals have a sense of humor which would allow them to have human interactions. Such as telling jokes or watching funny movies.

  • AmberMadison
    5/13/2014 - 10:26 a.m.

    I think its cool that people determine whether or not animals laugh, because in reality we cant really determine whether or not animals are laughing.

  • dylan gaddis
    5/13/2014 - 10:55 a.m.

    1.)Chimps often vocalize something close to human laughter when tickled or chased.
    2,)There is little evidence for a sense of humor in animals because animals can't tell us what they're thinking.
    3.)Although we need special machines to hear it, rats chirp during rough and tumble play and when tickled.
    4.)Although we need special machines to hear it, rats chirp during rough and tumble play and when tickled.
    5.)we can say that there are two kinds of laughter.

  • ChaseB-1
    5/13/2014 - 11:01 a.m.

    Social laughter is the kind that requires a sense of humor to understand it. Another kind of laughter is in response to physical stimulation. An example of this would be when someone is tickled. Since animals can't talk, there is little evidence they have a sense of humor, except for chimps which vocalize something close to human laughter when tickled or chased. I never realized chimps could laugh. I think it would be interesting to put a chimp in front of America's Funniest Videos and see if they would laugh or just sit there there still.

  • AshantiFleurantin
    5/13/2014 - 11:06 a.m.

    In order for us to hear animal laughter, we need this special instrument to use. But we only know that some animals can laugh. And that rats chrip when they are playing. And also dogs pant in a way to get the other dogs up and playing with them.

  • JacobBlueQ4
    5/13/2014 - 11:31 a.m.

    I hope there is a way in the near future to tell whether or not an animal is capable of having that kind of sense of humor or not. It would be pretty cool!

  • Tomas01
    5/13/2014 - 11:49 a.m.

    the three last dogs were like my dogs and those dogs looked so cute i want on of those cause that spoted dog was cool but i think that dogs can laught

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