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 reveals tiger shark movements around Maui and Oahu

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

Dogs hear our words and how we say them

2 hours ago

When people hear another person talking to them, they respond not only to what is being said—those consonants and vowels strung together into words and sentences—but also to other features of that speech—the ...

Amazonian shrimps: An underwater world still unknown

3 hours ago

A study reveals how little we know about the Amazonian diversity. Aiming to resolve a scientific debate about the validity of two species of freshwater shrimp described in the first half of the last century, ...

Factors that drive sexual traits

4 hours ago

Many male animals have multiple displays and behaviours to attract females; and often the larger or greater the better.

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.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.