Ask a Scientist: LOL

Funny Fish asks, “Do animals laugh?”

Awesome question, Funny Fish! Animals do laugh, but it doesn’t sound the same as human laughter. The animal whose laugh sounds the most similar to humans is the chimpanzee, but there are 63 other types of animals that laugh, too! This list of laughing animals includes rats, orangutans, foxes, seals, killer whales, and even birds, like the kea parrot. These animals make sounds when playing or tickled, which can be considered as laughter. They make these noises to signal to their playmates that they are only playing and not trying to hurt them. This noise sounds different in each type of animal. So, feel free to play and laugh out loud just like other animals do!


Want to hear how similar a chimpanzee laugh is to a human laugh? Check out this video of a baby chimpanzee getting tickled! To learn more about laughing animals and to hear other animal laughs, listen to this NPR conversation for our older explorers!

If you have any questions about animals for our scientists, you can submit them here.

Nicole W. Korzeniecki is a PhD student in the Animal Behavior Graduate Group at UC Davis. She is studying how termites work together with the bacteria in their gut to keep their colony healthy.

Main image [Source]: A laughing great ape.

[Edited by Nicole W. Korzeniecki]

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