What Science Reveals About Why We Cry : Short Wave Last month, Short Wave explored the evolutionary purpose of laughter. Now, we're talking tears. From glistening eyeballs to waterworks, what are tears? Why do we shed them? And what makes our species' ability to cry emotional tears so unique?

Why Do We Cry?

Why Do We Cry?

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A closer look at tears. Photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher spent eight years capturing tears through a microscope. This image, titled Go! is from her work The Topography of Tears, published by Bellevue Literary Press in 2017. Rose-Lynn Fisher hide caption

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Rose-Lynn Fisher

A closer look at tears. Photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher spent eight years capturing tears through a microscope. This image, titled Go! is from her work The Topography of Tears, published by Bellevue Literary Press in 2017.

Rose-Lynn Fisher

Last month, Short Wave explored the evolutionary purpose of laughter. Now, we're talking tears.

From glistening eyeballs to waterworks, what are tears? Why do we shed them? And what makes our species' ability to cry emotional tears so unique?

Hosts Emily Kwong and Aaron Scott get into their feelings in this science-fueled exploration of why we cry.

To see more of Rose-Lynn Fisher's images from Topography of Tears, visit her website.

Keep sharing with us on Twitter — we're at @NPRShortWave — or email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

This episode was produced by Berly McCoy and Rebecca Ramirez, edited by Brit Hanson, and fact checked by Abē Levine. The audio engineer was Gilly Moon.