Chimpanzees too tend to be right-handed: Spanish study

October 28, 2010 in Biology / Plants & Animals
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."

(c) 2010 AFP

"Chimpanzees too tend to be right-handed: Spanish study" October 28, 2010