Yesterday, I was browsing Al Gore’s internet when something made me laugh. I’m not sure what it was (the Jezebel work slack? A bad meme? This video? I don’t know), but hearing my lone gurgle of laughter pierce the room got me thinking: Isn’t laughing really fucking weird when you think about it?
I took to Twitter to dump this stray thought, and was mostly mocked!
But think about it! We see or hear something funny and all of a sudden our diaphragm goes nuts and we let out unique (sometimes ugly) honking sounds as we temporarily choke on air. Sometimes our bellies hurt. Sometimes tears start streaming out of our eyes. Sometimes we laugh when things aren’t funny, as if to comfort ourselves in an awkward situation. And sometimes, our laughs are so teeny tiny that they only exist in an isolated puff of air from our nostrils. I’m aware that the different types of laughter was already thoroughly covered in that one bit in Marry Poppins, but still. Isn’t that weird?
Here’s that puff, by the way, explained by a doctor in an ancient MSNBC article from 1999:
We believe laughter evolved from the panting behavior of our ancient primate ancestors. Today, if we tickle chimps or gorillas, they don’t laugh “ha ha ha” but exhibit a panting sound. That’s the sound of ape laughter. And it’s the root of human laughter.
Apes laugh in conditions in which human laughter is produced, like tickle, rough and tumble play, and chasing games. Other animals produce vocalizations during play, but they are so different that it’s difficult to equate them with laughter. Rats, for example, produce high-pitch vocalizations during play and when tickled. But it’s very different in sound from human laughter.
Wow, science, wild as usual!
But seriously, have you ever thought about this? This is weird as hell, right? Why are there so many mysteries to this meat sack we call a body? I swear I’m not high?
Please reply with funny memes, old vine videos, or Johnny Papa EDM remixes. For science.