eCite Digital Repository

Early expression of manual lateralization in bipedal marsupials


Giljov, A and Karenina, K and Ingram, J and Malashichev, Y, Early expression of manual lateralization in bipedal marsupials, Journal of Comparative Psychology, 131, (3) pp. 225-230. ISSN 0735-7036 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2017 American Psychological Association

DOI: doi:10.1037/com0000073


Robust lateralization in forelimb use has recently been found in bipedal, but not quadrupedal, marsupial mammals. The link between bipedality and handedness, occurring in both marsupials and primates, remains to be investigated. To shed light on the developmental origins of marsupial manual lateralization, infants of macropod marsupials were examined before and shortly after the acquisition of habitual bipedal posture and locomotion. Forelimb preferences were assessed in natural, not artificially evoked, behaviors of infant red-necked wallaby in the wild and infant eastern gray kangaroo in free-ranging captivity. Pouch young of both species showed population-level left-forelimb preference when manipulating food objects, such as leaves and grass blades. This result provides the first report of lateralization in pouch young marsupials and rare evidence of lateralized manual activity in early mammalian ontogenesis. Young-at-foot juveniles of eastern gray kangaroo preferred to use the left forelimb to manipulate the mother's pouch edge as previously shown for red-necked wallaby. In both species, the direction of biases in manipulative behavior for young-at-foot and pouch young was the same as in adults. Forelimb preferences in offspring were positively correlated with the forelimb preferences of their mothers. Our results strongly suggest that the emergence of individual and population-level forelimb preferences in macropod infants precedes the onset of independent standing and locomotion. In all probability, manual lateralization in bipedal marsupials, such as kangaroos and wallabies, is not determined by the acquisition of habitual bipedality in the course of ontogenesis.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:laterality, macropod, infant early expression, marsupial, food manipulation, postural effect, bipedalism
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Terrestrial ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Ingram, J (Ms Janeane Ingram)
ID Code:118393
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Deposited On:2017-07-11
Last Modified:2018-05-23

Repository Staff Only: item control page