Smiling, frowning, looking surprised, scared, angry, excited (and so on!) are all different types of facial expressions. Facial expressions are the ways we move the muscles in our faces to express a feeling by raising or lowering our eyebrows, parting our lips into a smile, and more!
You’ve probably seen animals who look like they’re making certain facial expressions like a big, happy smile! Many animals have the ability to make their faces into smile – chimpanzees, for example, can often be seen with a grin! Dog also often seem to be smiling, such as when their mouths are open and they’re panting, and lots of other animals make happy-looking faces too.
Whether or not an animal’s “smile” means the same thing to them as it does to us is something that scientists aren’t entirely sure about. Some researchers think that an animal’s use of what we call a smile means something different for the animal than it does to us. However, lots of scientists (and pet lovers!) have reason to believe that many animals who “smile” do so because they are happy! Lots of research shows that animals feel and show emotions, sometimes in ways similar to humans (like smiles) and sometimes in ways that are unique to the animal, like a dog who wags his tail or a cat who purrs contentedly!