The fighting hypothesis as an evolutionary explanation for the handedness polymorphism in humans: where are we?
Article first published online: 6 JUN 2013
© 2013 New York Academy of Sciences.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume 1288, The Evolution of Human Handedness pages 110–113, June 2013
How to Cite
Faurie, C. and Raymond, M. (2013), The fighting hypothesis as an evolutionary explanation for the handedness polymorphism in humans: where are we?. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1288: 110–113. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12159
- Issue published online: 6 JUN 2013
- Article first published online: 6 JUN 2013
The ubiquitous and persistent handedness polymorphism in humans requires an evolutionary explanation. It has been suggested that left-handers have a frequency-dependent advantage during a fight, such that this advantage decreases when their frequency increases. Many independent studies are providing data from interactive sports (a specific class of fights), and are very supportive of the fighting hypothesis. The only intercultural study on traditional societies is also consistent with the fighting hypothesis, although it has not yet been replicated. The frequencies of left-handers in the few remaining violent societies are likely to be rapidly decreasing, due to Western colonization (long-range weapons, religion, and money market) dramatically affecting the frequency-dependent selection associated with handedness. Clearly, more data are urgently needed outside the Western influence.