[ExI] uncommon lols

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 1 20:01:59 UTC 2021

On Wed, Jun 30, 2021 at 8:47 PM spike jones via extropy-chat
<extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> On Jun 30, 2021, at 6:35 AM, spike jones via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> >>…We all need more laughter in our lives.  Of all beasts, I know of no other species that does that,
>>> and just think about how much of a waste that is.
> From: extropy-chat <extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org> On Behalf Of Dan TheBookMan via extropy-chat
> >…I don’t think anyone’s saying this is the last word, though it looks like good evidence at this point that laughter isn’t peculiarly human.
> Human laughter takes on so many different forms, I can’t think of anything which would be analogous to it in nature.

Have you read the journal piece I mentioned? See:


Don't want to read all that stuffy sciency prose? NPR did a segment on it too:


Much easier to access, and it seems like the examples they use are
analogous to human laughter.

Disagree? What would qualify as analogous in your mind? It might be
you're setting the bar too high. (Which isn't to say that human
behavior hasn't ramified the trait to a greater extent than other
extant animals. For instance, tool use is observed in primates,
corvids, and even cephalopods, but none of these organisms has
organized anything like a textile mill or a 3-D printer.)

Think of this: laughter is almost certainly an evolved behavior. And
it seems fairly basic -- as humans do it at an early age and I don't
know of a human culture without laughter. Humans share many other
basic behaviors with other animals, especially with primates and other
social animals. (Some of these could be shared primitive traits,
others convergent evolution, still others simply things that
regardless of evolution any social species would do.) So, I'd start
from the position not of human exceptionalism here, but of what is the
likely evolutionary path of the behavior.

(I don't like to use 'in nature' because it presumes humans are
outside nature. But I get what you mean. I'm not into the strong form
of Sapir-Whorf, but I think using such idioms reinforces an
anti-evolutionary view here.)

> Perhaps beasts really do have a form of laughter which we cannot detect.  This brings up a rather disturbing thought…

Again, look at the evidence. It seems like there are other animals
have something like laughter, sometimes that's close enough that using
terms like 'play vocalizations' almost seems pedantic rather than
informative. See also:


To me, being around humans, cats, dogs, etc., it seems like play and
laughter are there if you pay attention. Yes, a cat or a dog or a
parrot isn't going to laugh at a clever pun, but in the context of
their understanding it seems they do laugh or have 'play

To me, this is similar to how people live around cats their whole
lives yet can't figure out why most cats don't like belly rubs or get
irritated after being pet too long. (Not to mention, there is this
thing called Google that one can use to see if anyone else has figured
out pressing issues like this.:)

> What if… our dogs and cats really are laughing at us.  We can’t see it,
> but inside, they have contemptuous gales of derisive laughter.  Dogs
> don’t really act as if they do, but cats… one can never really tell with
> those aloof clawey bastards.  They might be laughing at us.



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