Wallaby Damned: Kangaroos Are All Lefties!

Wallaby Damned: Kangaroos Are All Lefties!

Until recently, scientists have believed that only primates display "true-handedness," favoring one hand over the other. New research proves that not only do kangaroos share this trait, but that they are all left-handed.

Good journalism, it is said, is knowing the right time to use a terrible pun headline.

A left hook that came out of nowhere: most kangaroos are lefties, surprising new research says.

This may not seem strange, but it is an unexpected trait to find in marsupials, a group very distant on the mammalian family tree from primates. Until now, we believed that only the latter group (including humans) ever showed "true"-handedess, the favoring of one hand over the other.

Yegor Malashichev, a zoologist at Saint Petersburg State University in Russia, says the handedness likely developped after kangaroos starting walking upright, just as it did in humans and our closest cousins.

"It seems we're no longer quite so unique," said Malashichev.

The study, published in Current Biology, made hundreds of observations across several marsupial species. Two of Australia's most iconic animals, the red kangaroo and Eastern gray kangaroo, almost always use their left paws for tasks that ranged from grooming their noses, to picking leaves from trees, to bending branches.

Not only does it shed light on animal brains and evolution, it also gives important insight into one of fighting games' strangest playable characters.

Many animals display a "division of labor" between their two sides. The left side, controlled by the right side of the brain in vertebrates, is often assigned to everyday tasks, such as grooming and feeding; the right side, controlled by the left brain, is more for emergencies. Fleeing from danger, fighting, and so on.

So why are kangaroos mostly left-handed, when nine out of ten humans are not? Paul McNeilage told National Geographic his hypothesis: the tree-dwelling ancestors of kangaroos likely favored their right hands for navigating quickly through the canopy. Modern kangaroos are southpaws because they keep the same brain structure, despite having evolved into a plains-dwelling existence.

A great deal of superstition was once prevalent about left-handed people. They were thought to be witches or devilspawn; the word 'sinister,' in Latin meaning 'left,' has come to refer to maliciousness and evil. This bit of folklore has largely passed into history, but perhaps we can replace it with something more grounded in scientific truth: "if you ever meet a lefty from Australia, they are probably a kangaroo."

Source: Current Biology, National Geographic

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I've known a few people who were born lefties but forced to become right-handed by parents. Back in earlier years if I remember correctly (early elementary school is fuzzy at best) some teachers used to force uniform right-handed writing. And I'm not talking about Catholic school and nuns with rulers (though my middle-school math teacher was an ex-nun, go figure).
I'm naturally left-dominant, not just with hands but also with my eye and feet. But I write with my right hand and use a right-handed mouse, play guitar right handed.
As far as aim goes? I shoot better lefty.
I am convinced I may have been conditioned to be righty at some point in my existence because my first instincts are always to use my left hand.

Someone out there is very proud of themself for that title.

Lilani:
Someone out there is very proud of themself for that title.

Not going to deny it!

How about being a natural born left-handed ginger? Does that qualify as being 'evil' and 'a witch'?

Imperioratorex Caprae:
I've known a few people who were born lefties but forced to become right-handed by parents. Back in earlier years if I remember correctly (early elementary school is fuzzy at best) some teachers used to force uniform right-handed writing. And I'm not talking about Catholic school and nuns with rulers (though my middle-school math teacher was an ex-nun, go figure).
I'm naturally left-dominant, not just with hands but also with my eye and feet. But I write with my right hand and use a right-handed mouse, play guitar right handed.
As far as aim goes? I shoot better lefty.
I am convinced I may have been conditioned to be righty at some point in my existence because my first instincts are always to use my left hand.

Ambidextrous is the word for what you are. Someone who is able to use the right and left equally well.

Imperioratorex Caprae:
I've known a few people who were born lefties but forced to become right-handed by parents. Back in earlier years if I remember correctly (early elementary school is fuzzy at best) some teachers used to force uniform right-handed writing. And I'm not talking about Catholic school and nuns with rulers (though my middle-school math teacher was an ex-nun, go figure).
I'm naturally left-dominant, not just with hands but also with my eye and feet. But I write with my right hand and use a right-handed mouse, play guitar right handed.
As far as aim goes? I shoot better lefty.
I am convinced I may have been conditioned to be righty at some point in my existence because my first instincts are always to use my left hand.

That happened to me, grandmother pushed for me to go right handed so now I'm ambidextrous. Some things I do right, some left handed. In their time people thought that left handed people were evil or the work of the devil. Dumb humans.

What surprises me is people are so stupid to think we're the only species that does it, pay attention to your cat, dog or whatever for a few seconds and you'll see they will favour one paw when paying with a ball, eating or whatever. Just goes to show how up ourselves our species is to think we're so special to be the only ones to do anything. News flash people, we're just an animal like dogs, bears and wolves. Whatever we do, think or feel, they do as well. Except destroying the planet and kill, rape and steal for fun. Those evil traits are human specialities.

RicoADF:

What surprises me is people are so stupid to think we're the only species that does it, pay attention to your cat, dog or whatever for a few seconds and you'll see they will favour one paw when paying with a ball, eating or whatever. Just goes to show how up ourselves our species is to think we're so special to be the only ones to do anything. News flash people, we're just an animal like dogs, bears and wolves. Whatever we do, think or feel, they do as well. Except destroying the planet and kill, rape and steal for fun. Those evil traits are human specialities.

I'd have to say that its a little ridiculous to say that humans only steal, or are environmentally harmful. The difference for us is that we can realize and alter our behavior. But plenty of animals do kill for fun (e.g. cats, orcas playing with their food), territory which is effectively stealing compiled with murder if translated to a human point of view.
And ducks. Ducks are huge rapists if you want to filter their behavior by human POV.
So please, I agree that humans can recognize some of their behavior is destructive, but we aren't the only species who are malicious, jealous or have "war". Try putting two ant colonies next to each other, they don't peacefully coexist.
Its human arrogance to believe we're the only species that can damage the planet, hurt things for "fun" and do other "evil" things. Oh but since animals don't "know" they're doing wrong its not "evil" is it?
Sorry dude but you're patently wrong there, the only difference is we can vocalize and define something as "evil". I'm not saying it doesn't exist, but that humans are not sole proprietors of environmental destruction, killing for non-food related reasons and being maliciously violent.

Deathfish15:
How about being a natural born left-handed ginger? Does that qualify as being 'evil' and 'a witch'?

Imperioratorex Caprae:
I've known a few people who were born lefties but forced to become right-handed by parents. Back in earlier years if I remember correctly (early elementary school is fuzzy at best) some teachers used to force uniform right-handed writing. And I'm not talking about Catholic school and nuns with rulers (though my middle-school math teacher was an ex-nun, go figure).
I'm naturally left-dominant, not just with hands but also with my eye and feet. But I write with my right hand and use a right-handed mouse, play guitar right handed.
As far as aim goes? I shoot better lefty.
I am convinced I may have been conditioned to be righty at some point in my existence because my first instincts are always to use my left hand.

Ambidextrous is the word for what you are. Someone who is able to use the right and left equally well.

Which is what I am.

RicoADF:

That happened to me, grandmother pushed for me to go right handed so now I'm ambidextrous. Some things I do right, some left handed. In their time people thought that left handed people were evil or the work of the devil. Dumb humans.

What surprises me is people are so stupid to think we're the only species that does it, pay attention to your cat, dog or whatever for a few seconds and you'll see they will favour one paw when paying with a ball, eating or whatever. Just goes to show how up ourselves our species is to think we're so special to be the only ones to do anything. News flash people, we're just an animal like dogs, bears and wolves. Whatever we do, think or feel, they do as well. Except destroying the planet and kill, rape and steal for fun. Those evil traits are human specialities.

Adding to RicoADF's post -

Corals actively engage in chemical warfare to defend or invade territory.
http://coralreef.noaa.gov/aboutcorals/coral101/turfwars/
http://phys.org/news/2014-01-coral-chemical-warfare-suppressing-competitor.html

Deathfish15:

Ambidextrous is the word for what you are. Someone who is able to use the right and left equally well.

Not necessarily. They're describing use of a hand specifically where trained to do so, which still suggest left dominance.

Imperioratorex Caprae:
I've known a few people who were born lefties but forced to become right-handed by parents. Back in earlier years if I remember correctly (early elementary school is fuzzy at best) some teachers used to force uniform right-handed writing. And I'm not talking about Catholic school and nuns with rulers (though my middle-school math teacher was an ex-nun, go figure).
I'm naturally left-dominant, not just with hands but also with my eye and feet. But I write with my right hand and use a right-handed mouse, play guitar right handed.
As far as aim goes? I shoot better lefty.
I am convinced I may have been conditioned to be righty at some point in my existence because my first instincts are always to use my left hand.

Though correct me if I'm wrong.

I had a similar experience, though. Things I was trained to do right-handed I do right-handed. Most things I actually do with whatever hand's closer/more convenient. I can't write lefty anymore, though. Though with the advent of smartphones, my handwriting's deteriorated period.

Imperioratorex Caprae:

I'd have to say that its a little ridiculous to say that humans only steal, or are environmentally harmful. The difference for us is that we can realize and alter our behavior. But plenty of animals do kill for fun (e.g. cats, orcas playing with their food), territory which is effectively stealing compiled with murder if translated to a human point of view.
And ducks. Ducks are huge rapists if you want to filter their behavior by human POV.
So please, I agree that humans can recognize some of their behavior is destructive, but we aren't the only species who are malicious, jealous or have "war". Try putting two ant colonies next to each other, they don't peacefully coexist.
Its human arrogance to believe we're the only species that can damage the planet, hurt things for "fun" and do other "evil" things. Oh but since animals don't "know" they're doing wrong its not "evil" is it?
Sorry dude but you're patently wrong there, the only difference is we can vocalize and define something as "evil". I'm not saying it doesn't exist, but that humans are not sole proprietors of environmental destruction, killing for non-food related reasons and being maliciously violent.

Hmm, you make some good points. I guess the difference I see is that humans often (not always) do it for fun for the sake of it, where as Orcas and cats are honing their hunting skills and other animal traits are also to do with survival . That said thinking about it I guess you could argue humans do the same thing instinctively even though we no longer need to hunt etc. Guess it depends on perspective with that one so I will concede your points. I still think we should know better but agree that there's more to it than that.

PatrickJS:
Yegor Malashichev, a zoologist at Saint Petersburg State University in Russia

Well he's Russian so that's probably just Putin propaganda.

So I guess that confirms they're all South Paws!! .... (>_>) ..... Huh? (<_<) HUH?! xD

..... I'll be sitting over in the corner

Happyninja42:
So I guess that confirms they're all South Paws!! .... (>_>) ..... Huh? (<_<) HUH?! xD

Dang! Should have put that in the title, bold text and all

Imperioratorex Caprae:
I've known a few people who were born lefties but forced to become right-handed by parents. Back in earlier years if I remember correctly (early elementary school is fuzzy at best) some teachers used to force uniform right-handed writing. And I'm not talking about Catholic school and nuns with rulers (though my middle-school math teacher was an ex-nun, go figure).
I'm naturally left-dominant, not just with hands but also with my eye and feet. But I write with my right hand and use a right-handed mouse, play guitar right handed.
As far as aim goes? I shoot better lefty.
I am convinced I may have been conditioned to be righty at some point in my existence because my first instincts are always to use my left hand.

I've been through that for a few years in primary school. It's surprisingly traumatic to remember. Also has the interesting side effect of making me semi-ambidextrous as an adult, even though it was only a year or two at most...
But... It made the bad writing of a small child who probably had disgraphia anyway, even worse...

Handedness and the implicit biases in everyday objects are one of those things people do so love to trivialise. But it does have some actual consequences...

it's amusing that kangaroos are mostly lefties though... Might have to watch out for that if I see any... XD

Kangeroos are lefties? That doesn't sound right. I should lend a hand, but I actually won't lift a finger.

CrystalShadow:

Imperioratorex Caprae:
I've known a few people who were born lefties but forced to become right-handed by parents. Back in earlier years if I remember correctly (early elementary school is fuzzy at best) some teachers used to force uniform right-handed writing. And I'm not talking about Catholic school and nuns with rulers (though my middle-school math teacher was an ex-nun, go figure).
I'm naturally left-dominant, not just with hands but also with my eye and feet. But I write with my right hand and use a right-handed mouse, play guitar right handed.
As far as aim goes? I shoot better lefty.
I am convinced I may have been conditioned to be righty at some point in my existence because my first instincts are always to use my left hand.

I've been through that for a few years in primary school. It's surprisingly traumatic to remember. Also has the interesting side effect of making me semi-ambidextrous as an adult, even though it was only a year or two at most...
But... It made the bad writing of a small child who probably had disgraphia anyway, even worse...

Handedness and the implicit biases in everyday objects are one of those things people do so love to trivialise. But it does have some actual consequences...

it's amusing that kangaroos are mostly lefties though... Might have to watch out for that if I see any... XD

I ended up creating my own unique writing style, sort of a handwritten font. Calligraphy came very natural to me, and I did a lot of work with it when I was younger. It was real strange how that worked for me. I'm not sure if its real science, but I've heard that left handed folks are more creative than right handed folks and righty's are more analytical. I think because I double dip with the hand usage that I tend to be creatively analytical... which can make for some awesome things, but at the same time it also makes me highly skeptical of any information I receive.
The creative side leads to some way the hell out there theories and the analytical side digs down those theories and looks for supporting evidence. I'm not always right, but it does make life interesting. I had a chat with a physics professor once back in 2000 when I was living near Berkeley and he asked me after the chat why I wasn't in his class. I told him I wasn't enrolled in Berkeley or any other university and the dude was shocked. He gave me some advice to pursue a career in science because I didn't automatically accept what was put in front of me as truth but rather double-check everything to make sure the math/science or logic of those things work, and my creative approach to physics would be very beneficial. I should have taken up his offer to help me get funded and accepted, but I was young and stupid and full of pride. I don't know if I would have fit in at Berkeley but it would have been an interesting ride nonetheless.
Life took a different path and I've kept up with some things in the realm of physics but also have slacked off as I've become more of a family man and my time is devoted to raising my daughter. Still I do think about that, and I'd love to figure out if there was a real correlation between what hand you use or if you're ambidextrous and what part of the brain you're more likely to think with.

 

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