Study Finds That Most Kangaroos Are Left-Handed

August 10, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. exhibit / ɪgˈzɪb ɪt / (v.) – to demonstrate or to show
Example: The monkey exhibited kindness to the visitors.

2. handedness / ˈhæn dɪd nɪs / (n.) – the tendency of using one hand over the other in doing tasks
Example: Studies show that monkeys exhibit handedness.

3. groom / grum / (v.) – to clean up
Example: They saw a tigress grooming her cub.

4. imply / ɪmˈplaɪ / (v.) – to suggest in an indirect way
Example: The report implies that the zookeeper is guilty of negligence.

5. identical / aɪˈdɛn tɪ kəl / (adj.) – the same or exactly alike
Example: The identical twins often wear the same clothes.


Read the text below.
Scientists have observed that most of the wild kangaroos in Australia are left-handed.

Together with wildlife ecologist Janeane Ingram, Russian scientists from Saint Petersburg State University did field research in Tasmania [taz-MEY-nee-uh] and Australia to observe wild kangaroos. Their study, published in the journal Current Biology, gives the first evidence verifying that kangaroos, like humans, exhibit handedness.

According to their observation, the scientists found that kangaroos use their left hand when doing common tasks, such as grooming and feeding. They were able to observe this behavior on two kangaroo species and one wallaby species. Left-handedness was more evident among eastern grey and red kangaroos, while red-necked wallabies use their left hand only in some tasks that require motor skills.

The results of this research came as a surprise, as previous studies claimed that true handedness appears only in primates like humans and monkeys. This result also implies that the brains of kangaroos, just like that of humans, may have dominant sides. This is because in humans, left-handedness is controlled by the right side of the brain.

Other than handedness, a previous study done by Australian researchers found that kangaroos are genetically similar to humans. Through gene mapping, the researchers discovered that kangaroos and humans share many genes that are identical and are of the same order. The researchers also found that kangaroos and humans shared the same ancestors at least 150 million years ago.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Did you find the results of the study interesting? Why or why not?
·         What other animals do you think are similar to humans?

Discussion B

·         If you could research about one animal, what would it be and why?
·         Why is animal research important?

August 10, 2015