Just like us, chimps laugh even when the joke isn’t funny
Steve Connor is the Science Editor of The Independent. He has won many awards for his journalism, including five-times winner of the prestigious British science writers’ award; the David Perlman Award of the American Geophysical Union; twice commended as specialist journalist of the year in the UK Press Awards; UK health journalist of the year and a special merit award of the European School of Oncology for his investigative journalism. He has a degree in zoology from the University of Oxford and has a special interest in genetics and medical science, human evolution and origins, climate change and the environment.
Wednesday 02 March 2011
Chimpanzees can share a joke just like any human but they are also capable of sharing a laugh even when they don't find something particularly funny, scientists have discovered.
A study of wild chimpanzees has found that laughter occurs not just when chimps are having fun but also when they want to promote some kind of social bonding – much like human smiles help bonding in a conversation.
"Humans clearly use laughter as an important response in a wide range of social situations, but it is particularly interesting that chimpanzees seem to also use laughter to respond in such distinct ways," said Marina Davila-Ross of Portsmouth University.
"We found their responsive laughter shows a similarity to the conversational laughter of humans," Dr Davila-Ross said.
The study examined laughter in 59 chimpanzees at Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage in Zambia.
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