Do Animals Laugh?

Almost everything that women like in men seems to have some reproductive fitness signaling value. What about humor? Note that it’s not enough to say that “humor is a stress reliever.” The question is, why would it relieve stress?

The best guesses that I have:

  • Humor signals contextual intelligence in quick, bite-size forms. You have to know about the local social environment and be intelligent to be spontaneously funny.
  • Humor is the mechanism via which the brain can engage in some self-observation (nearly impossible for the brain to do otherwise) by noticing how much of our environment is actually predictive guesses based on pattern matching. Obviously false pattern matches (which a lot of humor is based on) show that we can be wrong about serious things, and so we take them, well, less seriously. This can reduce stress.
  • To make jokes, you must play with patterns and make them incomplete on purpose. To do so, you have to be able to complete patterns as well – the ability to reason. Therefore a humorous animal is a reasoning animal. Do non-human animals laugh and joke around?
  • Any others?

2 thoughts on “Do Animals Laugh?

  1. On a related note, some idle walking led to this thinking about humor:Why are good, new ideas so often hilarious at first contact?Who knows?But, consider that there are four possibilities:1) Good, funny idea.2) Good, dull idea.3) Bad, dull idea.4) Bad, funny idea.Now, we can all get behind #1 ideas, can’t fuss about #2 ideas, and ignore #3 ideas. But #4 ideas? Well, hey, at least they are funny!So, the odds are 3 out of 4 that a new idea is a winner.Which is really nice for those of us who like the world to be biased toward creating new ideas.Now, have you ever noticed how life, itself, seems to fill every available crack in the world? I’ll contend that filling new "cracks" is equivalent to pursuing new ideas.Could it be that the driving force behind life’s growth energy is humor? Does that mean that your local starfish, whose great, great, great, great, etc. grandkids can be expected to drive Chevy-like vehicles … has a sense of humor?

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