You could tell this joke:
A gorilla walks into a bar. “I’ll have a Cosmopolitan, please,” orders the Gorilla. The bartender, figuring that the ape wouldn’t know any better, decides to inflate the price a little, “Sure thing, that’ll be $35.” The bartender makes small talk while the Gorilla searches his wallet for the money. “You know, we don’t get many gorillas coming in here ording Cosmopolitans,” he says. The gorilla replies, “Yeah, well, at $35 a pop, I’m not surprised.”
Or you could tickle the gorilla. Like chimpanzees, orangutans, rats, people – we think dogs – gorillas are ticklish. And, at least some apes, actually seem to enjoy it.
At Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent, England keeper Phil Ridges regularly tickles gorillas. Emmy, loves the tickle. The gorilla, now 19, was hand-reared, and Phil has been her keeper for most of her life.
Ridges tells BBC news, She can be “a little bit frosty”, but if she is in the mood, she cannot resist a chortle when she is tickled.
“I’ve worked with gorillas for a long time, and I’ve often seen gorillas tickling each other, so it is a nice feeling when they have accepted you enough and they don’t mind you tickling them,” he says.
In a study published in Current Biology in 2009, Dr Davila-Ross and colleagues compared the sounds that great apes made when they were tickled with the laughter that tickled humans produced. If a truck hits me tomorrow, I can say I’ve left this earth tickling a baby chimpanzee and more than one young orangutan.
Researchers believe that laughter in great apes shared the same evolutionary origin as laughter in humans, suggesting a common ancestor that giggled when tickled.
But laughter or the joy of being tickled goes beyond our closest relatives. Rats giggle, and many dog owners maintain their dogs enjoy a good tickle. Apparently, pigs enjoy the same. And anyone who lives with a ferret, cat, rat, parrot or dog knows our pets have a sense of humor, whether they laugh or not – they do things funny on purpose.
We know laughter stimulates healthy endorphins – it’s good for us to laugh…is this why we (and other species) laugh? You know what they say, it’s the best medicine.