Kangaroos Are Lefties—Why Handedness Is Rare Among Animals
The preference for using one hand likely emerged after red and eastern gray kangaroos started walking upright, just as it did in humans, a new study says.
Talk about a southpaw—some kangaroos are almost exclusively lefties, a new study says.
That may not seem so revolutionary. But for decades, researchers had believed that handedness—the idea that most members of a species will use the same hand to do nearly everything—existed only in great apes, including humans. (Read "Unique Among Animals, Kangaroos Use Tail as Fifth Leg, Scientists Find.")
By combining hundreds of observations of wild marsupials, scientists report that red kangaroos and eastern gray kangaroos—two iconic Australian species—almost always use their left paws.
This handedness, says study leader Yegor Malashichev, a zoologist at Saint Petersburg State University in Russia, likely emerged after these kangaroo species started walking upright, just as it did in humans.