Being Left-Handed Means You Are Right-Brained…Or Does It?
New research has shown us that being left-handed is not as simple as using the opposite side of our brains. The monitoring of gene activity shows that while there is still a tangible link to the development of the spinal chord, there are a few other factors to consider before we make a final decision on the cause for left-handedness. So, yes, being a lefty does mean that your right hemisphere controls your preferred hand, but it’s a result rather than an actual cause for the anomaly.
Are We Alone In The Left-Handed Universe?
Our search for answers to the question have lead us down the path of many studies, and perhaps we can find them in the other inhabitants of the planet. It stands to reason that animals would exhibit some form of left-handedness, well, those with two hands anyway. So what can we learn from a closer look at how this occurs in the animal kingdom? Those animals with four limbs will naturally fall out of any equation for the simple reason that our friends on four legs don’t have the need to perform incredibly dexterous tasks with any of them and so would have no reason to have one hand or foot stronger than another.
There are some interesting facts that may give us a clue, though. In Australia, the red and the eastern grey kangaroo show a distinct preference for being left-handed regardless of gender. Again, this does bring us back to the observation that kangaroos walk on two legs and not four and therefore, would have need of a stronger hand. Parrots, even though they have two feet, have also show a distinct favouring of one paw over the other and around 90% of them favour their left foot when performing basic tasks.
Queens University in Belfast has also gathered some interesting research concerning cats. They observed that when cats were tasked with claiming objects out of a jar, that the cats would use their stronger paw. Which one? You ask, well, that’s where it gets interesting. Of the cats observed, 95% of all female cats used their left paw to perform the tasks, whereas 95% of their male counterparts used their right paw. Opossums are also known to show preference to a certain paw.
There is evidence to suggest that being left-handed was prevalent as far back as 500,000 years ago. A group of anthropologists has discovered a means by which to determine ancient human’s dominant hand, analysing the teeth of our ancestors. Back in the day once a kill had been made the meat would be stripped from the bones of the unlucky creature. But after it had been skinned, the pelt of the animal had any number of uses. To ensure its durability, they would stretch it by putting one end in their mouths and pulling in the other direction. During this process they would run a shaft of rock across the pelt and sometimes that rock would slip all the way down and make contact with their teeth. By studying where these marks occur, scientists have estimated that 90% of these marks were found on the right side, meaning the person scraping the pelt was right handed.