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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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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.
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