Page last updated at 16:02 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 17:02 UK

Would you tickle a gorilla?


By tickling great apes, scientists have given more weight to the idea that human laughter can be traced back to 10 to 16 million years ago.

The team took over 800 acoustic recordings from 22 juvenile and infant apes - including this gorilla - and three human babies while their palms, feet, necks and armpits were being tickled.

After analysing the differences between apes' laughter and human laughter and then comparing this with our evolutionary family tree, the researchers found that laughter probably evolved in human and apes' last common ancestor.

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