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J Comp Psychol. 2003 Sep;117(3):302-8.

Comparative assessment of handedness for a coordinated bimanual task in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) and orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus).

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1
Division of Psychobiology, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. whopkins@berry.edu

Abstract

Hand preferences for a coordinated bimanual task were assessed in a sample of 31 captive gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) and 19 captive orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) and were compared with chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) hand preferences in subjects that were matched on the basis of age, sex, and rearing history. The task required that the apes remove food from the inside edges of a symmetrical polyvinyl chloride pipe presented to them in their home cages. The results indicate significant species differences with chimpanzees showing population-level right-handedness and orangutans showing population-level left-handedness. The gorillas showed a nonsignificant trend toward right-handedness. The results are discussed in terms of possible ecological or biomechanical factors that may influence hand preferences in different ape species.

PMID:
14498806
PMCID:
PMC2043167
DOI:
10.1037/0735-7036.117.3.302
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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