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See What Happens When You Tickle a Rat

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What Tickling Giggly Rats Can Tell Us About the Brain | Science | Smithsonian

Smithsonian Channel. Video Contest. Games Daily Sudoku. Universal Crossword. Daily Word Search. Mah Jong Quest. Subscribe Top Menu Current Issue. Some People Can Tickle Themselves.

Like this article? Humans Could Be Next. A hammerhead shark locates a stingray hiding beneath the ocean video. Unnerved, the stingray makes a tickling for freedom but is it too late? Comment on this Story. Helens Blast. Current Issue November Gold Fever! Humans split from the great apes between 10 and 16 million years ago. The presence of this same tickle-laughter dynamic across the family suggests that it has existed for at least that long — or perhaps even longer.

Although laughter tickling tickling are not exactly top of most research agendas, limited studies appear to show some similarities with more distantly related mammals. One day, ethologist Patricia Simonet video watching her dog Goodall named for the primatologist Jane Goodall spinning video office chair around and making noises that indicated it found the activity hilarious.

She wondered if "laughing" would be an accurate description video this behaviour. Then, while at a conference the real Vietnam xxx movie Goodall suggested that Simonet ought to test this phenomenon. So that is exactly what she did. As with the chimpanzees, Simonet found that a laughter-like "breathy pronounced forced exhalation" was tickling with play. Recordings of it could even be used to decrease stress in other dogs. A few years prior to this, Simonet had reported Asian elephants in captivity emitting "quiet breathy sounds" during play.

Though she had not described these sounds as laughter at the time, she nevertheless made the connection when considering her video discovered "dog-laughs". That said, it is not easy to test whether the tickling and laughter demonstrated by these creatures is analogous with our own. View image of A diver tickles a potato grouper Credit: Rats are the go-to mammal for researching pretty much anything, and tickling is no exception.

Tickling rats in the name of science has been going on for two decades, starting with a controversial paper by tickling Jaak Panksepp and his then-undergraduate student Jeffrey Burgdorf. Having already identified high-frequency noises emitted by playing rats, inaudible tickling the human ear, Panksepp was struck by the idea that they could be distantly related to the noises made by playing humans.

With this in mind, he approached Burgdorf with an offer he could not refuse: At the time, the world was not ready for laughing rats, and there was considerable resistance from the scientific community. Since then, however, numerous studies have been undertaken using "heterospecific hand play" tickling to study positive emotions in these rodents.

BBC - Earth - Why humans, chimpanzees and rats enjoy being tickled

It would suggest that joyful affect emerged much earlier within mammalian brain evolution than is generally believed. When Davila-Ross conducted her research, she noted that young apes were the ones who enjoyed tickling most. It's very difficult to get rid of them. The same is true with rats. Melotti and many other researchers have noted that it is the young rats who enjoy the procedure most, and will often chase the experimenters' hand around in the hope of more tickles.

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It is hard not to compare this kind of behaviour with that of a playful toddler. If tickling — and laughter — smother farts present in the common ancestors of humans and rodents, that video place their origins at more like 80 million years ago. But Davila-Ross still thinks we should be careful when talking about laughing rats, dogs, or any other non-human animals. View image of A female bonobo Pan paniscus tickles her baby Credit: Though scientists are wary when applying human characteristics to animals, the general public is not.

Cute animal videos are the internet's today porn com currency, and that includes animals being tickled. Viral videos of slow lorises — adorable primates found in South East Asia — being tickled have chalked up millions of views online. But not only do these videos encourage the illegal trade in these endangered animals, the lorises are not taking pleasure from being tickled: View image of Most people are ticklish to some extent Video Even our beloved cats and dogs might not enjoy tickling as much as tickling think they do.

After all, tickling in humans is not exactly a straightforward behaviour. Depending on tickling you ask, tickling can be pleasant or painful; it can be eroticor used as a form of torture.

Understanding animal happiness can also improve animal lives, especially their conditions in captivity. When tickling humans, scientists like Provine can at least ask their subjects extensive questions about how tickling makes them feel, how they like to be tickled and so forth, but video animals, things are not so simple.

Increasingly, however, researchers are focusing more on the pursuit of animal happiness. Historically, studies in this area have been limited, and those that have taken place focused on a handful of study species: Learning about behaviours like tickling and laughter can seem a little esoteric, but it has practical applications.

Since his time tickling rats with his PhD advisor, Burgdorf has used what he learnt to help develop treatments for psychiatric disorders.