To human perception, dolphins always appear to be laughing, and in reality, dolphins are capable of laughing, but not in the way people perceive it. Dolphins are very social animals that usually hang out in groups.
A dolphin’s face always expresses an apparent smile, its good-natured and playful appearance together with its reputation of being one of the most intelligent animals in the animal kingdom make us think that dolphins can actually laugh just like humans, but it is not quite like that.
According to studies conducted by Bioacoustics, The International Journal of Animal Sound and its Recording entitled “Reproduction of human vocalizations and laughter: a comparative review”, dolphins can emit sounds that can be interpreted as “laughter”, but this laughter has nothing to do with their appearance or with the sense of humor known to humans.
Through the study, it was determined that dolphins, like other animals, can emit sounds and vocalizations that fit within the concept of what is understood as laughter.
Animals generally emit these vocalizations when they are playing, because among animals they play in a very physical way and it is difficult to differentiate between a fight and a game between them.
When emitting the sound, the animal is announcing that its mood is playful and has no intention to hurt or fight with the other animal, it is a very basic and simple way for the animal to say “quiet, I’m just playing”.
If you are wondering how dolphins can produce sounds underwater to communicate with each other, I also remind you that dolphins can produce ultrasonic sounds, with waves that are above the hearing capacity of the human ear.
What about the dolphin’s laughing expression?
The dolphins’ perpetual laughter must be the main reason why people think that dolphins are very cheerful creatures that laugh all the time.
Although in the animal world, things are very “down to earth”, not everything is what it seems, especially from a human point of view.
The smile on a dolphin’s face is just a coincidence because of the curved shape of its beak; a dolphin could be in pain and still keep that “smiling” expression on its face.
That reminds me of the face of a sloth, another animal that appears to be smiling all the time, when in fact the lack of muscles in its face is what gives it that appearance.
Some people may think of dolphins and sloths as happy, cuddly, smiling animals and may unintentionally subject them to situations that are uncomfortable for them.
This reminds me a lot of a very cruel joke about a clown who meets a group of rapists in a lonely place, when the rapists attack the clown he tells them “treat me gently, my smile is not real, it is painted”.
The false smile of dolphins
I have read several articles about it, many people enjoy seeing dolphins in aquatic amusement centers, these trained dolphins always seem to be happy with a smile on their face, but that is just an illusion.
It is similar to the story I mentioned above about the clown, although the dolphin’s expression is one of laughter and happiness, inside he actually feels desperate for being in captivity and not being able to escape to nature.
Do dolphins have a sense of humor?
Dolphins can have a sense of humor because they are animals with highly developed brains and are able to create emotions because they possess neurotransmitters and hormones just like humans.
But one must distinguish between what could be the sense of humor of a dolphin to that of a human, the human sense of humor is a unique cognitive process, supported by a highly developed sense of consciousness that does not exist in other animals.
By this, I am saying that, yes, dolphins have their own sense of humor, but they would not be able to understand the sense of humor of humans because they are very different cognitive and mental processes, although similar in essence.
A sense of humor is a person’s ability to express or feel that something is “funny”. Or to transform emotionally difficult situations in order to avoid feeling defeated.
When something makes us laugh or amuses us, our brain activates mechanisms that make us feel good. This also happens in animals, especially in those with developed brains, such as dolphins.
Games and similar behaviors that occur more in young animals are part of what we could call a “sense of humor” in animals.
These are fights or confrontations that occur in a non-aggressive atmosphere. They encourage bonding between individuals in a social group, just as in humans.
Do dolphins jump out of the water for fun?
Dolphins are as friendly creatures as they are playful children. Sometimes jumping out of the water may be purely for play, but it also has a functional reason.
Through biochemistry and fluid mechanics, studies of dolphins and other fish have discovered why dolphins jump out of the water and spin in the air, the reason being to shed parasites in their bodies, being in the water dolphins get a lot of resistance when swimming.
Once they jump out of the water, the air resistance is much less than that of the water. Dolphins can spin on the surface of the water at a speed of 6 meters per second.
Dolphins feel uncomfortable when they jump out of the water, but they can get rid of parasites. In fact, parasites have a considerable impact on dolphins, and severe cases can make dolphins sick.