Document Detail

Clapping in chimpanzees: evidence of exclusive hand preference in a spontaneous, bimanual gesture.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17044005     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
An increased understanding of spontaneous bimanual tasks performed by chimpanzees would enhance the ongoing debate on population handedness in this species, and thus shed light on the evolution of hemispheric lateralization in humans. However, documentation of such bimanual activities has been largely absent in the literature because such behavior is infrequently observed in the natural repertoire of this species. This study presents data on a simple, spontaneous bimanual gesture-"clap"-that was investigated in a naturalistic group of 26 chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Sixteen individuals exhibited a total of 657 bouts of clapping directed toward humans, usually in the context of food availability. Most individuals were exclusive in their dominant hand preference, but since there was no population bias to the right or the left, the population is placed at level 3 of McGrew and Marchant's [Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 40:201-232, 1997] laterality framework. This is the first reported evidence of level 3 laterality in a non-tool-using task. Clapping increased in frequency with age, being common in adults, present at lower rates in adolescents, and absent in infants and juveniles. There was no effect of rearing or sex. The lack of population bias to the left or right for this bimanual gesture has implications for the debate on the evolution of language.
Alison W Fletcher
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  American journal of primatology     Volume:  68     ISSN:  0275-2565     ISO Abbreviation:  Am. J. Primatol.     Publication Date:  2006 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-10-25     Completed Date:  2006-12-21     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8108949     Medline TA:  Am J Primatol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1081-8     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
(c) 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Chester, Chester, United Kingdom.
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MeSH Terms
Animals, Zoo
Behavior, Animal / physiology*
Functional Laterality / physiology*
Motor Skills / physiology
Pan troglodytes / physiology*,  psychology

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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