Monkeying Around: Exploring the Jestful Nature of Human-Like Primates

New research has shown that some human-like primates have unique jokes. It has been observed that young mammals tease older ones. Scientists believe that “monkeying around” could help understand the evolution of humor among humans.

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It has long been known that humor has a positive impact on human health. Laughter reduces stress and feelings of tension. When laughing, the body releases endorphins, commonly known as happiness hormones. They induce a sense of well-being, euphoric states, and even suppress pain perception.

Sense of humor among human-like primates

Jokes and jests also build bonds in society. Psychologists acknowledge this as a sort of “universal language” of our species. Sharing jokes can form new relationships and strengthen existing ones.

“Joking relies on complex cognitive abilities: understanding social norms, theory of mind, and anticipating others’ reactions. The characteristic teasing observed in pre-verbal children is associated with cognitive traits,” wrote the authors of a study published in the scientific journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

However, scientists argue that there is evidence that some species of human-like primates exhibit very similar behaviors. Young primates (aged 3 to 5 years) tease older ones. But until now, it was not known why they do this.

In the article, researchers described the behavior of four species of human-like primates:

  • orangutans,
  • chimpanzees,
  • bonobos,
  • gorillas.
[Photo by esrageziyor from Pexels]

Young monkeys tease older ones

Researchers analyzed 75 hours of footage from zoos in San Diego and Leipzig. The article stated that a total of 142 clear cases were documented where…