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Professor Quippy: Funnier than a barrel of monkeys pretending to tickle one another

Professor QuippyWhat’s funny? Well, it may or may not be a barrel of monkeys, but apparently laughter is hard wired into our primate and perhaps, our mammalian brains.

According to research by Professor Robert R. Provine of the University of Maryland, laughter and humor are not necessarily the same thing. According to a NY Times article today:

“Laughter is an honest social signal because it’s hard to fake,” Professor Provine says. “We’re dealing with something powerful, ancient and crude. It’s a kind of behavioral fossil showing the roots that all human beings, maybe all mammals, have in common.”

The human ha-ha evolved from the rhythmic sound — pant-pant — made by primates like chimpanzees when they tickle and chase one other while playing. Jaak Panksepp, a neuroscientist and psychologist at Washington State University, discovered that rats emit an ultrasonic chirp (inaudible to humans without special equipment) when they’re tickled, and they like the sensation so much they keep coming back for more tickling.

I wonder if Professor Panksepp did his own rodent manipulation or if he had to hire a special Rat Tickler for the job?

You can find the full article here.

Appeared at The Friday Ark.