Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

This study examines the behavioural consequences of the silent bared teeth display (SBT) and the relaxed open mouth display (ROM) in the chimpanzee, and discusses functional similarities with smiling and laughing (respectively) in humans. Rates of affinitive behaviour increase (in relation to baseline levels) following SBT, suggesting that SBT is a signal of affinity. ROM is observed primarily during play, and dyadic play bouts are significantly longer when ROM is bidirectional, indicating that it may be a signal of play. Rates of affinitive behaviour also increased after ROM, suggesting that both displays may have a similar ultimate (evolutionary) function - social bonding; this could explain convergence of the two displays in humans.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





129 - 142