Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/101

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89
A DOG'S LAUGH.

pressed in the epitaph on a tablet in Westminster Abbey. It reads as follows: "He was ardently attached to science; he labored to add to the knowledge and enrich the museums of his native land."

 
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A DOG'S LAUGH.
By M. LE VICOMTE D'AIGLUN.

ALPHONSE KARR has said: "Man is the gayest of animals; much more, he is the only gay one, the only one that laughs." Toussenel is equally explicit: "Laughter is a characteristic faculty of man." Gratiolet observes that "when man freely breathes a pure air, fresh and uncontaminated, his mouth dilates slightly, his upper lip reveals more or less of his upper front teeth, and the corners of the mouth gracefully elevate themselves;

PSM V50 D101 Fox terrier laughing.jpg
Fig. 1. — Fox Terrier Laughing.
From a photograph.

the muscles that determine this movement act at the same time upon his cheeks and raise them, slightly lifting the outer angles of his eyes, which become a little oblique. This movement of easy respiration is called the smile; and the smile of the lips is distinguished in language from the smile of the eyes. The smile of the eyes is in man, however, consecutive to the service of the mouth, and does not depend upon any special muscle. No mammalian animal has the smile of the mouth; but the smile of the eyes exists in the carnivorous animals, and, as it can not depend upon the buccal smile, its determining cause resides in a small muscle that acts on the outer angle of the eye. Dogs, it is known, have this smile of the eyes in a superior degree."[1] Further, he says: "The real and simple smile that is, the movement that lifts the angle of the mouth is exclusively peculiar to the human species. There is nothing like it even in the highest monkeys. Among the carnivores, animals of the genera Ursus (bear), Canis (dog), and

  1. Gratiolet. De la Physionomie, p. 25.