, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 1315-1326
Date: 20 Nov 2007

Handedness and Grooming in Pan troglodytes : Comparative Analysis Between Findings in Captive and Wild Individuals

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Grooming is a complex set of motor actions, common in highly social primates. We tested for asymmetries in hand use during unimanual and bimanual allogrooming in 215 captive chimpanzees. In addition to hand use, we coded in the ethogram whether the manual grooming action co-occurred with the use of the mouth. Overall, grooming did not elicit strong handedness at the individual level, but there is a small yet significant population-level right-hand bias for bimanual grooming. Mouth use during grooming had no influence on hand use. A comparison of the findings with previously published data on handedness for grooming in wild chimpanzees suggests that wild apes are more right-handed than captive individuals are for allogrooming. Collectively, the results suggest that role differentiation of the hands is an important factor in the assessment of handedness for grooming, and perhaps additional manual actions of chimpanzees and other primates.