Ticklish Problem: The Evolution of Laughter

Common Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes).  Photo Credit:  Aaron Logan

Common Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). Photo Credit: Aaron Logan

New research on the origin of laughter suggests that humans and apes inherited laughter from a shared ancestor.  Researchers actually tickled human babies, orangutans, gorillas, chimps and bonobos.  They then analyzed 11 components of the sounds each species made when tickled and mapped how the sounds are related to each other.  Once done, the researchers had a map that matched the family tree all the species belong to.  Other scientists argue that the shared ancestor goes back even further, given that other species also produce sounds similar to laughter.  For more information, see Discovery News.

This photo is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.

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