Chimpanzees too tend to be right-handed: Spanish study

Oct 28, 2010
A Chimpanzee licks a popsicle as it cools down in the hot weather at a zoo in England in 2009. According to a new study by Spanish scientists, chimpanzees here the human trait of being mostly right-handed.

Humans are not the only species to prefer to use their right hand -- chimpanzees also share the trait, according to a new study by Spanish scientists.

The researchers reached their findings, published in the latest edition of the , after observing 114 from two rescue centres, one in Spain and the other in Zambia.

The primates were provided with food hidden inside tubes and the scientists monitored them to see which hand they used to get at it, either their fingers or with the help of tools.

"The chimpanzees showed a preferential use of the right hand to get the food from the tube," the Catalan Institute of Human Palaeoecology and Social Evolution, which coordinated the study, said in a statement.

"This feature had traditionally been considered exclusively human and had been believed to be caused by asymmetries observed in the human brain that are related to the realization of complicated activities that require the use and coordination of both hands."

The study also found that female chimpanzees, like their human counterparts, are more likely to be right-handed than males.

The researchers said this suggests "that just like in our species, there are shared biological factors, genetic and hormonal, that modulate the functioning of our brain."

Explore further: Study brings greater clarity to sex roles

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Who's bad? Chimps figure it out by observation

Mar 26, 2008

Chimpanzees make judgments about the actions and dispositions of strangers by observing others’ behavior and interactions in different situations. Specifically, chimpanzees show an ability to recognize certain behavioral ...

Study: Chimps don't care about friends

Oct 26, 2005

University of California-Los Angeles scientists say helping others is apparently a uniquely human habit -- or, at least, not a habit shared by chimpanzees.

Chimpanzees use sex tools

May 05, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Many animals are known to use tools, but chimpanzees (our closest living relatives) show the most varied and complex use of tools, and the males in one group of chimps have even been observed ...

Feet may be the key to hand evolution

Jan 20, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists in Canada have used a mathematical model to simulate the evolution from an ape-like hand to the modern-day human hand, and discovered that changes in our fingers and hands developed ...

Recommended for you

Lemurs match scent of a friend to sound of her voice

7 hours ago

Humans aren't alone in their ability to match a voice to a face—animals such as dogs, horses, crows and monkeys are able to recognize familiar individuals this way too, a growing body of research shows.

Love-shy panda artificially inseminated

16 hours ago

Britain's only female giant panda, Tian Tian, has been artificially inseminated after failing to mate with her male partner Yang Guang, Edinburgh Zoo said Tuesday.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

tk1
5 / 5 (1) Oct 28, 2010
And yet the chimmp in the pic is using its left hand!
marjon
5 / 5 (3) Oct 28, 2010
A major artery from the heart enters the left arm. Artery to the right arm branches from the carotid artery, not straight from the heart.
Maybe, those who are left handed, lead and fight with their left and if they suffer a severe injury die more quickly.
I wonder if handedness has been evaluated based upon such risks.
Gary7
5 / 5 (1) Oct 28, 2010
The results of this study shouldn't be a surprise. Chimps and humans are so closely related that it would be amazing if chimps didn't favor their right hands.

More news stories

Low Vitamin D may not be a culprit in menopause symptoms

A new study from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) shows no significant connection between vitamin D levels and menopause symptoms. The study was published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopa ...

Astronomers: 'Tilt-a-worlds' could harbor life

A fluctuating tilt in a planet's orbit does not preclude the possibility of life, according to new research by astronomers at the University of Washington, Utah's Weber State University and NASA. In fact, ...