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Tickling apes reveals laughter’s origins

Chimps, bonobos and others enjoy the sensation and let out sounds to prove it

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12:13pm, June 4, 2009

Video / Audio of laughing samples are posted below the article.

Don’t try this at home, but tickling a gorilla, orangutan, bonobo or chimp can inspire bursts of grunting sounds.

Yes, that’s laughter, says Marina Davila Ross of the University of Portsmouth in England. She and her colleagues analyzed sounds of ticklish great apes as well as human babies and traced a shared family tree of laugh sounds. Laughter’s roots go back at least 10 to 16 million years, Davila Ross and her colleagues suggest online June 4 in Current Biology.

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