A good joke or an unexpected event can sometimes trigger irrepressible bursts of laughter in us all. But did you know that these instincts also exist in animals?
A studycarried out by researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), published last year, discovered that some non-human species can also have a good laugh. In fact, there are at least 65 identified species that have the ability to laugh. This 'gift' is not only given to the great apes, but also rats, for example.
Laughter inaudible to human ears
Rats, for example, are very sensitive to tickling, as proven by an experiment. When tickled, the rats emitted laughter at frequencies that are inaudible to humans. This laughter, while imperceptible to all but the most sensitive ears, was still present.
Communication via sound signals gives animals the ability to identify the nature of their interaction. Most of these are related to potential dangers, or potential meals. But they are also able to emit non-aggressive sound signals and thus share a moment of 'fun' with their fellow-creatures.
Seals and mongooses share a good laugh
Other animals mentioned in the study include foxes, seals, mongooses, some bird species, cows and domestic dogs. While we don't really know what the animals are laughing about, this study provides a better understanding of how laughter has evolved over time.