author={Matthew M. Gervais and David Sloan Wilson},
  journal={The Quarterly Review of Biology},
  pages={395 - 430}
A number of recent hypotheses have attempted to explain the ultimate evolutionary origins of laughter and humor. However, most of these have lacked breadth in their evolutionary frameworks while neglecting the empirical existence of two distinct types of laughter—Duchenne and non‐Duchenne—and the implications of this distinction for the evolution of laughter as a signal. Most of these hypotheses have also been proposed in relative isolation of each other and remain disjointed from the relevant… 
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The Complexity and Phylogenetic Continuity of Laughter and Smiles in Hominids
The present work provides an evolutionary reconstruction of the evolution of human laughter and smiles of positive affect in form and function, based on the principle of maximum parsimony.
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Laughter as an approach to vocal evolution: The bipedal theory
  • R. Provine
  • Psychology, Biology
    Psychonomic bulletin & review
  • 2017
The evolution of bipedal locomotion freed the respiration system of its support function during running, permitting greater breath control and the selection for human-type laughter (a parsed exhalation), and subsequently the virtuosic, sustained, expiratory vocalization of speech.
Evolutionary Explanations for Humor and Creativity
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Understanding the import of laughter, has interested philosophers and literary scholars for millennia and, more recently, psychologists, biologists, neuroscientists, and linguists. However, the
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It is hypothesized that infants' initial ape-like laughter transforms into laughter similar to that of adult humans over the course of ontogeny, and the more laughter is produced on the exhale, the more positively it is perceived.
From Whence the Captains of Our Lives: Ultimate and Phylogenetic Perspectives on Emotions in Humans and Other Primates
An evolutionary approach to emotions is outlined, combining adaptationist, comparative, and phylogenetic analyses, to illuminate the functions that emotions fulfill, the reasons why they take the forms that they do, and the extent to which they are shared across species.


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In modern analyses of humor and laughter, social scientists have begun to recognize the potential importance of social variables. But this recognition is by no means universal. For example, Berlyne
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Humor may have evolved as an instrument for achieving broad social adhesiveness and for facilitating the individual’s maneuverability within the group, but that it evolved through sexual selection has yet to be convincingly demonstrated.
The origin of humor.
  • N. Howe
  • Education
    Medical hypotheses
  • 2002
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