The science of laughter - Sasha Winkler
Dec 21 2023
Laughter is a universal human behavior, but why do we laugh and how did this behavior evolve? There's no archaeological record of laughter, making it challenging to pinpoint its evolution. However, scientists have proposed several theories. This article explores these theories and delves into the science behind laughter.

One theory suggests that laughter evolved from the panting behavior of our ancient primate ancestors. During play, primates would make pant-like vocalizations that eventually developed into the human laughter we know today. This theory is supported by the fact that laughter is not unique to humans; other primates, such as chimpanzees and bonobos, also laugh.

Another theory proposes that laughter evolved as a social bonding tool. In prehistoric times, laughter could have served as a signal to others that the situation was safe and non-threatening. This would have helped to strengthen social bonds and cooperation within groups, which was crucial for survival.

Laughter also has several physiological benefits, which could explain why it has been preserved through evolution. It can reduce stress and anxiety, boost mood, and even improve immune function. These benefits suggest that laughter may have evolved as a mechanism for coping with the challenges of life.

In conclusion, while it's impossible to say exactly how and why laughter evolved, it's clear that it plays a crucial role in human social interaction and well-being. Whether it's a simple chuckle or a full-blown belly laugh, laughter truly is the best medicine.

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