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.