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Updated: October 29, 2010 15:57 IST

Like humans, chimps too prefer using their right hand

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Jimmy, a 26-year-old chimpanzee, paints on a cardboard at a zoo in Niteroi, Brazil. The chimpanzees, like human, showed a preferential use of the right hand, the researchers have found.
AP
Jimmy, a 26-year-old chimpanzee, paints on a cardboard at a zoo in Niteroi, Brazil. The chimpanzees, like human, showed a preferential use of the right hand, the researchers have found.

A new study by Spanish scientists has revealed that humans are not the only species to prefer to use their right hand - chimpanzees also share the trait. The researchers reached their findings after observing 114 chimpanzees from two primate 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,” Discovery News quoted the Catalan Institute of Human Palaeoecology and Social Evolution, which coordinated the study, as saying 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.”

The study has been published in the latest edition of the American Journal of Primatology.

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