The one thing that’s always separated us from most all the other living things on earth is our ability to laugh. Oh sure, Chimpanzees and Laughing Hyenas excepted, try to think of another species that laughs out of pure laughter, not mimicking or imitating us. But now scientists say a rat will laugh when tickled–and they’re not joking. Dr. Jaak Panksepp, professor of veterinary and comparative anatomy at Washington State University in Pullman. This video shows him playing with rats, tickling rats’ bellies resulting in the animals appearing to laugh! Rat “laughter” consists of high-frequency chirps that are beyond the range of human hearing. But for the video, Dr. Panksepp used special sound equipment to hear the rats’ responses, according to The New York Times. And in the video, which was recorded in 1998, the rats seem to chase Dr. Panksepp’s hand for more when he stops tickling them.
| July 2, 2012 at 9:43 p.m.