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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Human Handedness Is for the Birds
1 February 2011 7:01 pm
Whether you're a righty or a lefty, parrots may be able to tell us why we've come to prefer one hand over the other. In a series of experiments, researchers watched as 322 parrots from 16 different species attempted to grab an object—a toy or a piece of food—with their feet. Since the birds' eyes are on the sides of their heads, they can't look straight ahead like we do; instead, they have to cock their heads to one side. But like us, individual parrots show a strong preference for one limb or the other: The researchers noticed that a "left-handed" bird would cock its head to the right to give its left eye a better view. It would then grab the object with its left foot, probably because this was the easier foot for the left eye to track. If early animals had eyes on the sides of their heads like birds do, their need to use either one eye or another to grasp objects may have led to the evolution of handedness, the researchers suggest online today in Biology Letters.
See more ScienceShots.