The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Right Hand is Used by Captive Chimpanzees

Received 5 May 2008; received in revised form 21 August 2008 and 21 September 2008; accepted 5 February 2009. published online 27 March 2009.
Corrected Proof


Whether precursors of the left-lateralization for human language can be found in the vocal and gestural communication systems of nonhuman primates remains a topic of intense research, particularly within theoretical discussions of the evolutionary origins of language. Although previous studies in chimpanzees have reported evidence of right-handedness for inter-species food-beg gestures produced exclusively toward humans, some might question the generality of these results to intra-species communicative signals. To address this issue, we recorded hand use in 70 captive chimpanzees for species-typical signals, that could be directed either toward conspecifics or humans. We found evidence of a predominance of right-handedness for species-typical gestures in captive chimpanzees when directed to both humans and conspecifics. Hand preferences during intra-species communication were significantly and positively correlated with gestures directed toward humans. By contrast, hand preferences for gestures did not significantly correlate with hand use for a non-communicative self-directed action. The collective results suggest (a) that evidence of predominance of right-handedness for human-directed gestures communication is not specific to this context and (b) the existence of a specific communicative system involving gestures constitutes an ideal prerequisite for the cerebral substrates of human language and its typical left-lateralization.

Action Editor David Carey


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