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Old 06-01-2019, 12:06 AM
Jim B. is offline
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Do Animals Have a Sense of Humor?


I asked this question about 20 years ago. But I will try to rephrase it, in a slightly different way, if that's possible.

I think the example I gave c. 20 years ago, was that I would be getting my dog a treat. And s/he would be watching me intently as I did. Then I would stumble a little, and he or she would wag his tail a little. Which seems odd. I mean, he wasn't glad I was stumbling, esp. as I was getting him a treat. So he must've thought it was funny or something.

Also, I don't know if I originally brought this up. But then there was our sheep dog Tiffany (Tiffany is of course the all-white dog). She would often tease our Siamese cat Chi Chi. My mother first told me about it. She would butt Chi Chi with her nose, then watch for a reaction. I eventually did witness her doing that once. I don't know if teasing equals humor. But you have to admit, it served no other logical purpose.

Also, speaking of Tiffany, when I was still rather young, I would go 'Meow!' like a cat, and grab her. Then she would seem to mildly protest, in feigned annoyance. I'm serious. And she would often nip at her best friend Sandy's back legs. Then Sandy would simply sit down (Sandy is the orange one in this picture, again). Seems like humor to me. Though I know some of you may say not for some reason.

I actually think animals have all the same feelings we do, though of course none of the intelligence. I know I am going off on a tangent a little here. But it's true. Joy, hate, antagonism, love, friendship. Or maybe we humans just feel animals emotions. Did you ever consider that? Animals emotions, including humor. Why not?

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Last edited by Jim B.; 06-01-2019 at 12:07 AM. Reason: Typo.
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Old 06-01-2019, 12:23 AM
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I had a beagle that would fuck with my ex's cat, like a younger brother pissing off an older sister. He would annoy the cat (that ignored him) till it got pissed and flipped out on him. I swear I could hear him snicker when the cat got mad.
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Old 06-01-2019, 06:54 AM
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Not sure if that falls under "humour", "trolling", asserting dominance or just being an ass, but I remember a cat couple from when I was growing up that had a weird interaction. There was a white and a tabby - I don't remember the names. The white had lain sovereign claim of divine dominion over the living room Ottoman : the tabby was not allowed on it, for any reason, ever. Attempts were sometimes made when tabby thought white wasn't looking but always immediately responded with spirited violence. However, the tabby was also not allowed away from the Ottoman while white was on it. If the tabby tried to leave the room, the white would jump down, bite it by the ruff of the neck and drag it back in view of the Ottoman. Then let go and jumped back on the hallowed perch.


Rinse, repeat for long, bored Wedsneday afternoons.
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Old 06-01-2019, 10:45 AM
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We swear our Shih tzu, male, tantalizes our cocker spaniel, female. I also know that once in awhile if we do something goofy he will look at us like wtf?
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Old 06-01-2019, 11:35 AM
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I think any sort of playing involve a sense of humor. Even adult animals play sometimes. So I'd say yes.
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Old 06-01-2019, 11:38 AM
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Actually, as humans are only highly evolved animals, probably any emotions we have are present in our fellow creatures in some form.
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Old 06-01-2019, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Two Many Cats View Post
I think any sort of playing involve a sense of humor. Even adult animals play sometimes. So I'd say yes.

Not necessarily - play is about practice as much as fun and spending surplus energy/resources. Medieval jousts, chess, all forms of sports are all examples of "play", but you wouldn't call them funny-ha-ha, right ?

Similarly, when a cat is having the time of his life pouncing on the Red Dot or destroying the nearest duster, it's really hunt/kill training. Jumping on your face all claws out in the middle of the night, on the other hand, is about being a dick and reminding you whose house this really is, mostly.
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Old 06-01-2019, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Kobal2 View Post
Not necessarily - play is about practice as much as fun and spending surplus energy/resources. Medieval jousts, chess, all forms of sports are all examples of "play", but you wouldn't call them funny-ha-ha, right ?
.
Humor is not necessarily all funny-ha-ha. Anything "fun" requires a sense of humor to detect the pleasure in the fun.
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Old 06-01-2019, 11:27 PM
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Not sure about laughter but I’m sure they experience the roots of humor. Like when my cat continually stretches out and mewls when I come inside, until I tickle him and he fake bites me. It’s like proving that he’s not a threat, kinda like telling a joke to people to show ur not there to bust balls, but in a rudimentary cat way.
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Old 06-02-2019, 04:47 AM
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I've read that wirehair fox terriers are known for having "a mischievous sense of humor." Ours sure seemed to
enjoy teasing us and getting silently "giggly" over silly things.
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Old 06-02-2019, 08:35 AM
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This seems more like a GQ thread than GD. The answer is apparently yes:

https://www.businessinsider.com/babo...e-humor-2016-3

Quote:
Humans aren't the only species with a sense of humor.

For instance, this baboon thinks a disappearing card magic trick is hilarious:
<Video at site>

And he (or she) is not alone on the primate family tree.

A simple cup trick made this young orangutan literally roll on the floor:

<Video at site>
Also see here: https://slate.com/culture/2014/03/do...unny-bone.html. One quote:

Quote:
As Bekoff points out, Darwin argued that the difference between human and animal intelligence is a matter of degree, not of kind. Or as Bekoff put it, “If we have a sense of humor, then nonhuman animals should have a sense of humor, too.”
There are many other articles along that line. One starts with "the short answer is 'no'", but then describes all kinds of situations where animals seem to exhibit one. There was an interview on Fresh Air where a primatologist describes all the ways that chimps and bonobos are similar to humans, including committing murder.
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Old 06-02-2019, 08:54 AM
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Penguins are masters of slapstick.

The orangutan magic video, mentioned previously, seems pretty convincing to me.

The animal psychology of this video also intrigues me.

I like to think this dog has a sense of humor.
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Old 06-02-2019, 09:12 AM
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One theory of humor is the benign violation theory:
Quote:
The BVT integrates seemingly disparate theories of humor to predict that humor occurs when three conditions are satisfied: 1) something threatens one's sense of how the world "ought to be", 2) the threatening situation seems benign, and 3) a person sees both interpretations at the same time.
Does this dog come to see the "funny" side of the situation?
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Old 06-02-2019, 09:39 AM
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I had a terrier that loved playing 'gotcha'
She would wait behind doorways when I came in the room she would jump and bark one woof and run like an idiot. If I screamed and dropped the laundry she just went hysterical, doing the mad dog run around the house. She was enjoying, forsure..

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 06-02-2019 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 06-03-2019, 05:15 PM
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I know it's far too easy to attribute human characteristics to animals, but I feel fairly sure that some of the games I play with my dog are evoking a reaction that is akin to amusement in some way.

For example in the video below, I hid around a corner, again and again in the same place - and the dog's reaction (about 2:43 in the video) is a sort of wide open mouth expression - she's not panting - she's experiencing some sort of enjoyable excitement, best I can tell.
https://youtu.be/AC1-dmCDuI4?t=89
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Old 06-03-2019, 06:47 PM
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Son-of-a-wrek has a 3yo dachshund. I pet sit when they need me to. He is the funniest dog. If he thinks you're watching he does 'the' head tilt thing. Slow wag of the tail and then the play crouch. It's irresistible. If you throw a ball he'll go get it but he's not bringing it to you. He wants a game of catch me if you can. He very good at it. He's always smiling, the snarl-smile thing. I laugh like a fool at him.
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Old 06-04-2019, 08:24 PM
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We used to have a dalmatian that acted as if he thought farts were funny.
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Old 06-04-2019, 08:49 PM
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Dogs have a sense of humor, which is to be expected after we've spent the last 20,000 years turning perfectly good wolves into second rate members of our tribe.
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Old 06-04-2019, 09:37 PM
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I think so. My cat has a sense of playfullness. We play chasing games and she runs the same routine a few times then switches it up with something different. And if she wins three times in a row, she'll let me win the next one on purpose.
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Old 06-05-2019, 07:59 AM
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Scientists are now using fMRI machines with dogs (who are trained to tolerate the noise and lay still) and are discovering that their brain functions are identical to ours when shown images of things that trigger emotional responses. I'm convinced merely through close observation that many animals have emotions, including a sense of humor. I'm glad that the scientific community is researching this so that we can add "scientific rigor" to the massive collection of anecdata that nobody takes seriously because of the idea that anecdotes (no matter how many you have) are not data.

At any rate, here's my anedcata: My beloved Capri, female greyhound, retired racer, had a wry sense of humor. She mostly enjoyed novelty as she would respond with amusement to something the first one or two times she encountered it, but not much after that. Case in point, she was a velcro dog and would follow me around the house. So to play with her, I would start to walk from one room to another, see her following me, and run away. This would trigger her prey drive of course, and also her sense of fun so she'd chase me.

Our ground floor floorplan has a bit of a "racetrack" to it, in that you can walk from the front door to the living room, to the kitchen, to the dining room and back to the front door. There is also a bit of a figure-eight possible because you can also walk right from the kitchen to the front door, bypassing the dining room. So since she's a retired racer, and basically right up my butt when I tried to run away from her, I started pivoting and going back the other way around our little in-home racetrack. She loved that and started doing it too so that she'd "head me off at the pass" and nearly collide.

Then there was the one time when I ducked into the powder room next to the front door just at the moment I was out of her sight as she chased me, so she ran past. I came out and said "boo!" and I swear to God and everyone who will listen, that dog LAUGHED.

It wasn't a vocal "haha" like people do. Dogs laugh silently, open mouth turned up at the corners, relaxed facial muscles, sparkling eyes, head bobbing up and down slightly. It was wonderful, and became my new goal in life (to make her laugh).

I miss the hell out of her.
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Old 06-05-2019, 08:04 AM
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No you're displaying anthropomorphism. There is evidence to show animals like primates finding magic tricks exciting or "funny", that's the closest thing to a sense of humor I can imagine animals besides humans getting to.
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walken After Midnight View Post
One theory of humor is the benign violation theory:

Does this dog come to see the "funny" side of the situation?
Is that a Vizsla? I had friends who had a Vizsla. It used to stalk the cement duck and ducklings in the neighbor's yard.
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