this will probably sound crazy, but do animals have an equivalent of laughing? and i don’t mean hyenas. also, do animals know what we’re doing when we laugh? my dog always looks at me like i’m crazy when i laugh.
There are apparently a number of other primates that laugh. A Discover article from 1994 discusses a little bit about laughter, but it seems to be a bit dated and of limited use.
I vaguely remember reading another article whose author believed that laughter is a response developed from barking (and suitably altered in purpose).
So some other animals do laugh, but not all have an equivalent of laughter (or even make any vocalizations at all, for that matter).
I feel safe in saying that most animals do not understand laughter. The only exceptions may be primates that have a similar sounding response and domestic animals that are smart enough to connect the response with certain types of events. No offense to your dog, but it might not be smart enough to connect the laughter response to the events that preceded it.
(If you believe the Discover article cited above, humans may not connect their laughter to funny events preceding it either :eek: )
Based on the fact that nearly all people who own cats (or vice versa) can tell you that said cats know when they’re being laughed at, and do not like it. (link to Doug Muir’s magnum opus is even appropriate, in view of current Atlantic weather) I suspect that cats are equally prone to laugh at others (both two-legged and four-legged), although they woudn’t compromise their dignity by letting us see it.
Most dogs also act as if they’re embarassed when we laugh at them. And I am of the opinion that dogs sometimes laugh at a person or another dog, and you can occasionally tell. And they will nearly always join in to clown around with a person who is being silly. If they don’t understand humor, how would they ever understand deliberate silliness when a human does it?
To the best of my knowledge, nobody’s ever proved empirically that dogs laugh, but I suspect that it’s only a matter of time. IMHO, members of any “social” mammalian species (live in groups, not solitary) have a sense of humor, or at least have the potential for it. I wouldn’t want to bet on mole rats, or probably even on prairie dogs, but I don’t really doubt that dogs, horses, dolphins, etc., have one. IMO, it’s part of the whole emotion complex in the brain.
As I recall from my college primatology class, bonobos both laugh and cry. If you have ever seen a video of bonobos or chimps playing, you will hear what I’m talking about. It sounds very human like. They love being tickled, apparently.
My mitred conure will mimic laughter very well with a ha, ha, ha sound similar to a human female. My blue-fronted amazon had a dirty old man laugh-a sound you’d ascribe to finding your grandpa in a compromised position after he’d been drinking. His laugh was so evil, it would make me laugh, and then the conure would join in.