How many species of animals can laugh? Many members of the fauna are characterized by complex social behavior. These signals promote beneficial interactions and lower the cost of aggression.
Human laughter has been studied by science for a long time. Scientists know that he signals to others about our friendliness, good mood and willingness to cooperate. What about animals?
Researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles published an article in the journal Bioacoustics on the study of the phenomenon of laughter in the animal kingdom. They found vocal play that resembled laughter in at least 65 species.
Professor Gregory Bryant and graduate student Sasha Winkler analyzed in detail the existing scientific literature, which describes the play behavior of animals. Sound signals similar to laughter were selected. At the same time, such characteristics as the tonality of the sound, its loudness, pitch, rhythm, and duration were assessed. The mimic activity of the animal was also important.
“Many species have complex social behaviors. During play, they often use cues that promote helpful interaction and lower the cost of aggression. One such interaction in primates is laughter. But it also occurs in rats and other species, ”the authors of the article write.
In total, they counted at least 65 species capable of laughing. The list includes various great apes, cows, dogs, foxes, seals, mongooses, as well as three species of birds, including parrots and Australian magpies.
“When people laugh, they show others that they are having fun and invite them to join them. In animals, the function of laughter is similar. With this signal, they show their friendliness, explains Gregory Bryant, professor at the University of California at Los Angeles. “Laughter is a very old evolutionary signal.”
Scientists emphasize that research needs to continue, but observing animals in the wild will be difficult, since animals may be in a hard-to-reach place, and the sounds they make may be quiet. But studying this topic will allow you to better understand the nature of human laughter and find an explanation for our behavior in society.