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Evolutionary origins of human handedness: evaluating contrasting hypotheses

Abstract : Variation in methods and measures, resulting in past dispute over the existence of population handedness in nonhuman great apes, has impeded progress into the ori- gins of human right-handedness and how it relates to the human hallmark of language. Pooling evidence from behavioral studies, neuroimaging and neuroanatomy, we evaluate data on manual and cerebral laterality in humans and other apes engaged in a range of manipulative tasks and in gestural communication. A simplistic human/animal partition is no longer tenable, and we review four (non- exclusive) possible drivers for the origin of population- level right-handedness: skilled manipulative activity, as in tool use; communicative gestures; organizational com- plexity of action, in particular hierarchical structure; and the role of intentionality in goal-directed action. Fully testing these hypotheses will require developmental and evolutionary evidence as well as modern neuroimaging data.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01464557
Contributor : Hélène Cochet <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 11:43:01 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - 1:04:02 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, January 17, 2019 - 12:20:58 PM

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Hélène Cochet, Richard Byrne. Evolutionary origins of human handedness: evaluating contrasting hypotheses. Animal Cognition, Springer Verlag (Germany), 2013, 16 (4), pp.531 - 542. ⟨10.1007/s10071-013-0626-y⟩. ⟨halshs-01464557⟩

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