Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tickle me Ape???

Turns out that gorillas, bonobos, and other primates might laugh when tickled! While their laughing might not sound like laughter to us, researchers maintain that the "rapid panting" and slow "noisey breathing" is the way apes laugh.

"This study is the first phylogenetic test of the evolutionary continuity of a human emotional expression," said Marina Davila Ross of the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom. "It supports the idea that there is laughter in apes."

The research traces the evolution of laughter over the past 10 to 16 million years of primate history. While some of the details are debatable, I agree with experts who say that this comparison makes it logical to think about laughter as a "cross-species phenomenon, and that it is therefore not anthropomorphic to use this term for tickling-induced vocalizations produced by the great apes."

Check out the video here, on National Geographic. Even though the laughing doesn't sound like my giggles, I feel strangely connected to the laughing apes! I also think this would be so much fun to study!


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