Monday, August 22, 2016

Creature Handedness

 Actually, to be more accurate I probably should say creature pawedness. Although approximately ninety percent of all humans are right-handed, cats, rats, and mice that show handedness seem to be equally split between right- and left-pawedness. A decade of research by primatologist Bill Hopkins has shown that apes, like humans, also have hand preferences, but apparently handedness differs by type of ‘apes.’ For example, at the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia, a third of the chimpanzees are lefties and the rest have a right-handed preference. In another study, ten out of twelve gorillas used their right hand as the dominant one, all six gibbons used their left, while orangutans used either hand equally. In yet another study, gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos showed a right-handed preference, while orangutans evidenced left-handedness. My guess is that it may be a combination of genetics along with epigenetics, including how the parents taught their offspring, what was role modeled to them, perhaps even birth order, and whether researchers did the studies on subjects in the wild or in captivity.

No comments: