The Giggling Chimp: Researchers Draw Evolutionary Link Between Human and Ape Laughter
June 4, 2009
Current Biology, show that not only are the hoots, hollers and snorts of the great apes really laughter, but the evolutionary relationships between the sounds match up with the known evolutionary relationships between the species based on genetics.“At a minimum, one can conclude that it is appropriate to consider ‘laughter’ to be a cross-species phenomenon, and that it is therefore not anthropomorphic to use this term for tickling-induced vocalizations produced by the great apes,” the authors write.But the researchers’ findings also indicate something more profound: rather than being a uniquely human invention, tickle-induced chuckles can be traced back 10 to 16 million years to our last common ancestor with the great apes. Analysis of the chortles of a lesser ape, the siamang, suggests that laughter may be even older. here.