October 29, 2010

More Chimps Favor Right Hand Over The Left

The chimpanzee, man's closest relative, shares a common trait with its human cousin -- being right handed -- according to a new Spanish study.

The Spanish researchers observed 114 chimps from two primate rescue centers, one in Spain and one in Zambia, to come up with their findings.

Researchers provided the chimpanzees with food hidden inside tubes and monitored them to see which hand they used to get the food out, either with their fingers or with the aid of tools.

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

"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," it said.

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

Just like in humans, chimpanzees share "biological factors, genetic and hormonal, that modulate the functioning of our brain," suggest the researchers, who published the findings in the latest issue of the American Journal of Primatology.


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