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Rat Laugh Pack

March 8, 2010

Torah Kachur

It doesn't surprise me to learn that monkeys have a sense of humour. They'll steal your camera in the game parks and love to play with toys. Primates have an obvious comical side to them that cannot be denied. It also doesn't surprise me that dogs understand what is funny - think about the last time you watched your dog chase his tail....that is funny, no matter which way you look at it.

But rats!....I draw the line at rats.

Torah Kachur Cute Rat

My very un-scientific observations about funny dogs and chimps mostly rely on the fact that they are cute. But scientists much more sophisticated than me say that rats can laugh. (Or have an evil-cackle...depending on your opinion on rats.)

Research from Bowling Green State University in Ohio has shown that when rats play, they emit little chirping sounds that are a distinct sound equivalent to our lol or rotfl.

I do find it hard to believe that one of the most vile creatures on the planet can giggle uncontrollably in response to tickling. But, the study was published in Science and so it comes with significant credentials.

And, the more I think about it - why is it so crazy that a rat can laugh? Laughter is universal among humans, despite some people's lack of sense of humour, and so it should be something that evolved long before the existence of modern humans. Horses, dogs, primates have all been shown to laugh and play and otherwise enjoy their own intrinsic sense of humour.

So maybe a rat is funny after all? Maybe they were left chuckling away when they spread the plague? And maybe they think it's hysterical when they give you rabies? After all, it is hilarious when they pooh in your food stores.

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