Do animals laugh? Ask Smithsonian (Smithsonian.com)
Do animals laugh?
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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)
  • TobiasPeters-Lar
    5/14/2014 - 11:52 a.m.

    like hoe does the animal try to laugh normal people but i dont know but they do when u dont see them in real life i think they do from the normal people to like how they do that like us in life funny comment for the question.

  • NicoleK-5
    5/14/2014 - 04:52 p.m.

    There are two types of laughter. There's complex social laughter and physical laughter, which is like when you get tickled. There's little evidence that animals have a sense of humor. This is because animals can't tell us what they're feeling. However it is obvious that some animals, like the chimps, can laugh. I think it's funny that some animals can laugh.

  • marisolo-Koc
    5/14/2014 - 06:19 p.m.

    Maybe its too quiet for us to hear. Rats are way smaller than we are. The vibrations they produce probably aren't that strong. If some animals can laugh im guessing that most can, itd be surprising to know that a lizard could laugh. Who knows maybe they do.

  • RaeC-5
    5/14/2014 - 10:54 p.m.

    This article is about whether animals laugh. Humans laugh, and there is two types of laughter, complex social laughter and response to physical stimulation. When we get ticked we laugh and people say so do animals but you need a machine to hear it. I think this is interesting and kind of fumny, i would love to see a dog laughing.

  • El9699
    5/15/2014 - 08:38 a.m.

    They probably need instruments to hear rats laugh because they are quiet and you cant hear them with your ears.But i think animals can and do laugh.

  • cm10red
    5/15/2014 - 08:40 a.m.

    This is so cool. A lot of people I try to tell jokes to don't have a sense of humor, and they just ruin the joke. I hate when people do that. It would be a cool study, seeing if any kind of animals laughed, not the "Response" laugh, but the "Sens of Humor" laugh. I tend to think they do laugh like that sometimes. It would be cool to figure out if they actually do laugh like that. I predict they do laugh like that when they are socializing with other animals.

  • Sarah H
    5/16/2014 - 11:37 a.m.

    Laughing is the best kind of medicine. So, if a dog panting is a sign of "laughter" wouldn't a cat's purring be their laughter too then? I think when people laugh it's normally due to something funny, but sometimes, people laugh to keep themselves from crying.

  • 5CarsonM.
    5/19/2014 - 12:22 p.m.

    this is very interesting, i think that animals are able to laugh but we dont know when they are. we need special tools to hear rats laugh because their vocal cords cant project a loud enough force. with other animals, we can hear them, but we dont know if they are laughing or just panting. with the special tools, we could hear other animals laugh also if we create one that works with them. a dog could laugh when you rub his belly but you cant hear whether he is laughing. rubbing their belly goes along with the physical aspect of laughing for humans but it could also apply to animals. if we could know what animals were thinking, we would be able to know, but with further technology, we might be able to.

  • adrianv-Koc
    5/20/2014 - 01:24 a.m.

    We would need special machines to hear rats laugh because they're too small to hear. The laugh of a rat would be only herd with these little machines. Like dogs and monkeys they are easier to hear because they are lager so we would need machines to make them sound louder.

  • 9BrockW
    5/21/2014 - 12:47 p.m.

    I totally believe my dog can laugh. One morning when I was sitting down eating breakfast, my German Shepherd jumped up and stole my food. In my honest opinion I think she was laughing the first way after she ate it, because she was either smiling or totally laughing because she got the food. I do believe the 2nd type of laughter when My German Shepherd and the other German Shepherd are fighting one will chase the other and while they are they are smiling, totally having a fun time.

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