Evolution a Laughing Matter

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Evolution a laughing matter, according to reports in ScienceNOW, 4 June 2009 and ScienceDaily 5 June 2009. Marina Davila Ross of the University of Portsmouth, UK and colleagues have recorded the laughing sound made by young apes when they are tickled and compared them with tickling induced laughter in human infants. Human laughter is unique with sustained voiced sounds made while exhaling. The research team recorded laughter of a gibbon, and some orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos and found they all respond to tickling with short noisy grunts made during both inhaling and exhaling. Gorillas and bonobos also make longer breathy sound, and one of the bonobo made “a ‘voiced’ laugh, something akin to ‘Ha!’”. The scientists report that other researchers have observed chimps make this sound as well.

The researchers then drew up an evolutionary tree based on which apes laughing sounds were closest to human laughter and found it closely correlated with other evolutionary trees based on genetic similarities. The researchers concluded: "Taken together, the acoustic and phylogenetic results provide clear evidence of a common evolutionary origin for tickling-induced laughter in humans and tickling-induced vocalizations in great apes.” The researchers believe that laughter originally began in the last common ancestor of apes and humans and has gradually evolved over the past 10 to 16 million years.

ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: When researchers can tell the apes a joke and get a laughing response we will be more impressed with this evidence. As the scientists noted, human laughter is unique, but this is largely because human laughter is more often the response to mental stimulation than just a physical response. This is another example of evolutionists imposing their beliefs on scientific observations. The superficial similarity of ape and human responses to tickling is no proof that one turned into the other.

By the way, did you hear the one about the people who believe they used to be monkeys ... ?
(Ref. respiration, physiology, neurology)

Evidence News, 28 Oct 2009

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