02 Jan '12, 4am

Animal Tickle Tests Shed Light on the Origins of Laughter

Animal Tickle Tests Shed Light on the Origins of Laughter

It is perhaps the most curious of involuntary bodily responses, that is, to giggle and guffaw with reckless abandon when our feet, armpits, and ribs are touched in just the right way. To be tickled seems conjure equal parts ecstasy and turmoil, though it manifests itself as the purest expression of unsolicited joy -- laughter. On its face, this bemusing phenomenon might seem a uniquely human tendency, yet for the last several years real scientists have been discovering tickle-induced chuckling all throughout the Animal Kingdom and are beginning to better understand the origins of laughter itself. According to the BBC , researchers in the UK have essentially invented for themselves what might be the greatest job in the world: ticklin' for science. Their focus has been on how gorillas at a local wildlife park vocalize in response to some well-placed fingertip rub downs in or...

Full article: http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/years-long-stu...

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Scientists tickle animals to find laughter clues

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