Talk about a southpaw-some kangaroos are nearly exclusively lefties, a new study says. This report by Malashichev and his colleagues, published today in the journal, Current Biology, theorizes that the preference for right vs left is due to anatomical differences in the brains of humans and marsupials.
Previously it was believed that humans and certain primates are the only one who favor one hand over the other but now Kangaroos have been declared left-handed, according to a new study.
The team studied kangaroos in Tasmania and Australia.
While kangaroos eat grass, wallabies eat leaves from tree branches.
They did not expect to find too much. Their observations say that 90 percent of right-handed- which controls the left brain- humans have a specialized ability for language. This behaviour was particularly prominent among eastern grey and red kangaroos.
The first indication of this was observed in red-necked wallabies from Russia. And throughout this period, they collected data relating to hand preference for a set of tasks. The researchers saw subtle signs of handedness in marsupials that walked on fours, like short-tailed opossums and sugar gliders. Though hand (or paw) preferences have been noted in some animals, humans are considered special in showing a strong preference on a population level: About nine out of 10 people are right-handed. Even more peculiar, kangaroos in captivity don’t develop this traits either.
The discovery of handedness in kangaroos is surprising, scientists said.
From these observations the researchers conclude that one-handedness may be more linked to posture than heredity.
Red-necked wallabies demonstrating a variety of stances – bipedal, quadrupedal, and tripedal.
“We found a pronounced degree of handedness in an animal group only distantly related to humans”, said Yego Malaschichev, a zoologist at Saint Petersburg State University, in an interview with The Verge.
True handedness really wasn’t expected in kangaroos, largely because their brains are different from other mammals. (Photo: Andrey Giljov/National Geographic Society.). Other marsupial species also fit this pattern. However, the latest study seems to have discarded the previous thoughts. “This whole taxon was neglected in the research”, Giljov says. We’ve got the roos, especially this magnificently ripped one, on our side.
However, small is yet known about how handedness works in the marsupial brain.
These findings add to the kingdom-wide show of handedness researchers have been piecing together over the years.
Generally, they use their left forelimb for tasks that involve fine manipulation and the right for tasks that require more physical strength.
Yet another important finding was that joeys, or baby kangaroos, also exhibit handedness.
p style=”text-align: center;”>