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Most Dolphins Tend to be Right-Handed Just Like the Humans, Research Suggests

Researchers at Dolphin Communication Project, USA, spent six years observing a population of bottlenose dolphins and they realized that they exhibit a strong right-side bias in foraging behaviour.

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Updated:November 29, 2019, 10:59 AM IST
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Most Dolphins Tend to be Right-Handed Just Like the Humans, Research Suggests
Representative image. (Reuters)

The most adorable marine animals, Dolphins exhibit many goofy and playful characteristics. And now, as per a new study, bottlenose dolphins tend to be right-handed, just like the majority of humans.

Researchers at Dolphin Communication Project, USA, spent six years observing a population of bottlenose dolphins and they realized that they exhibit a strong right-side bias in foraging behaviour.

“We hypothesize that this right-side bias may be due in part to the possible lateralization of echolocation production mechanisms, the dolphins' use of the right set of phonic lips to produce echolocation clicks, and a right eye (left hemisphere) advantage in visual discrimination and visuospatial processing,” wrote the researchers.

This right-sided foraging behaviour has been observed in other kinds of dolphins as well. For instance, when Dusky dolphins in New Zealand and Argentina circle clockwise around a shoal of fish, they maintain their right eye and right side towards their prey.

The common bottlenose dolphins in South Carolina show population-level bias during strand feeding, wherein they are mostly always on their right side while cooperatively herding fish onto muddy river banks.

As per a report by Mashable, the study observed a total of 26 encounters where bottlenose dolphins were crater fed with a total of 649 minutes of recording.

After the researchers completed their study, they realized that “common bottlenose dolphins in Bimini displayed lateralization in crater feeding both on an individual and at a population level with a strong right-side bias”.

Other animals, including chimpanzees and gorillas, also show a significant right-hand bias, while orangutans exhibit a significant left-hand bias.

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