Kangaroos and other Marsupials Generally Favour their Left Limbs over their Right, finds Study

Kangaroos and other Marsupials Generally Favour their Left Limbs over their Right, finds Study

In a rather interesting study, published on Thursday in the journal Current Biology, researchers from the St. Petersburg State University have concluded that marsupials usually favor using their left limbs to right ones.

Extending beyond human beings, handedness now exits even in primates. The study particularly studies the motor behavior of kangaroos and other marsupials. Marsupials are animals that carry their underdeveloped young ones in pouches in their bodies.

The researchers observed red and eastern gray kangaroos, wallabies and other animals in the wild, at length. They concluded that the kangaroos and wallabies primarily used their left forelimbs for tasks such as feeding, grooming, among a couple of others. In addition, while the red-necked used their right limbs for tasks that required strength, they opted for their left limbs for fine motor functions, like picking up things.

The researchers attributed this handedness to asymmetric developments of the brain. Yegor Malashichev, one of the researchers, said, “The findings may tell us about some fundamental differences in functioning of the animals’ brains and distribution of functions between the hemispheres”. They cited the same reason for choice of one limb over the other, even in humans.

Other than kangaroos and wallabies, even orangutans were found to be left-handed. Another study conducted at the University of Trento in Italy, by a professor of neuroscience Giorgio Vallortigara, found that organisms such as bees also appear to favor one antenna over the other. Even amphibians, for example, a toad exhibits handedness. A gray toad uses the right forelimb to wipe the snout, whereas a green toad, uses the left.

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