Thursday, November 21, 2002


A giggling rat? What is next?

Can animals laugh?

Sure. Haven't you ever heard the expression, "That was so funny it would make a sick cat laugh?" On the other hand, I don't believe I've ever heard a cat laugh, sick or not.

Scientists have known for some time, although nobody told me about it until recently, that chimpanzees and some monkeys make a kind of panting sound that sort of sounds like laughter when tickled. If you think it would be weird to tickle a chimpanzee, wait until we get to the part about the rats.

Chimps also make this sound when roughhousing or playing chasing games. In evolutionary terms, it's probably some sort of behavior to let other chimps know that you're just playing and not really fighting....