, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 677-689

Population-Level Right Handedness for a Coordinated Bimanual Task in Chimpanzees: Replication and Extension in a Second Colony of Apes

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the reliability of previously published findings on hand preferences in chimpanzees by evaluating hand use in a second colony of captive chimpanzees. We assessed hand preferences for a coordinated bimanual task in 116 chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and compared them to previously published findings in captive chimpanzees at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. The new sample showed significant population-level right handedness, which is consistent with previously published findings in the Yerkes chimpanzees. Combined data on the 2 chimpanzee colonies, revealed a significant effect of rearing history on hand preference, with wild-caught chimpanzees showing less right-handedness than captive-born mother-reared chimpanzees. We discuss the results in terms of the role of early environment on the development of laterality.