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Cross-Generational Continuity of Hand-Use Preferences in Marmosets

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Captive 23 family groups of common marmosets, each of which contained an adult male and female pair and their infant younger than one year old, were assessed for hand-use preference. Unimanual act of pick up of a number of pieces of fruits and monkey chow, scattered on the floor of the cages, was chosen for recording. Of the 46 adult animals, 20 (43.5%) were left-handed, 15 (32.6%) were ambidextrous and 11 (23.9%) were right-handed. This distribution of hand-use was statistically different from chance. Overall % of left hand-use of each of the 23 infants significantly positively correlated with that of its mother, but not with that of its father. Marmoset handedness is a continuous dimension, skewed towards left-handedness, and offspring hand-use preference is strongly influenced by handedness of their mothers.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Science, The University of Tokyo, Hongo, Bunkyo, Tokyo 113, Japan; 2: Central Institute for Experimental Animals, Kawasaki, Kanawaga 213, Japan


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