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Keywords:

  • handedness;
  • turning;
  • prosimians

Abstract

Lateral preferences in food reaching and whole-body turning were assessed in 24 prosimian primates: 16 galagos (Galago moholi) and 8 mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus). Reach and turn preference in the galago were examined using a single testing procedure; separate procedures were used to evaluate reach and turn preferences in the mouse lemur. The motoric requirements for both species were 1) reach into a Plexiglas container with a single hand for a food item and 2) execution of a whole-body rotation about the long axis of the body. Twenty-three of the subjects tested had a reach preference (15 right, 8 left preferent) and 22 a turn preference (1 right and 21 left preferent). No correlation between the direction of reach and turn preference was found for either species; however an association between right reach preference and female gender was found for the galagos. A species difference in the strength of lateralization was found, with the more bipedal species, the galago, more strongly lateralized in both measures. This result supports the hypothesis that the assumption of upright posture was an important factor in the phylogenetic development of primate lateralization.