Hnrs2211-Critical Response #1 - Harden 1 Diana Harden Honor-2211 Dr Vicky Newman 3 October 2013 Critical Essay#1Laughter A Scientific Investigation In

Hnrs2211-Critical Response #1 - Harden 1 Diana Harden...

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Harden 1Diana HardenHonor-2211Dr. Vicky Newman3 October 2013Critical Essay #1—Laughter: A Scientific InvestigationIn Chapter 5 of his book about the science of laughter, Robert Provine takes a look at laughter and humor in our close primate relatives, chimpanzees. He compares their form of laughter with that of humans, explaining some of the physiological reasons behind the differences. These reasons also account for why chimps cannot speak English or in another human tongue. Despite this inability, however, Provine shows that chimpanzees have a remarkably human sense of humor.Provine starts out by stating that the key trait that distinguishes humans’ ability to laugh is our bipedality—getting around on two feet (75). (This is also why humans, and birds, can sing. I wonder, then, why do birds not laugh too?) This locomotor evolution, in turn, changed the breath control of our species which set the stage for vocal evolution. It is breaththat creates the sounds we make—in speaking, in laughing, etc. In the upright position bipedalism allows, the thorax is free of the physical demands of using “all fours” (i.e. the high impact when the forearms hit the ground while running) and the breath-to-stride ratio is more flexible (87). For most quadrupeds, this ratio is 1:1; one breath for every stride. But in bipeds breathing is less dependent on stride, so the ratio in human breathing patterns varies. Joggers, for instance, may breathe 1:1, 1:2, 1:3, 2:3, 2:5, etc.The effects of breath control are also connected with the coupling of breath and vocalization, giving insight into the evolution of speech and laughter. Similar to the breath-to-
Harden 2stride ratio of quadrupeds, a chimpanzee can vocalize one syllable for every respiratory movement.

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