Feeds

Southpaws thrash righties: study

Sinister findings

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Researchers have suggested that left-handed people are better at surviving fights to the death.

Charlotte Faurie and Michel Raymond of the University of Montpellier in France found that the greater the homicide rate in unindustrialised cultures, the higher the proportion of left handed people. Industrialised cultures were excluded from the survey due to a lack of data and, according to the researchers, because some weapons, such as guns, used in such societies would provide no advantage for either left or right handed people.

Among the Dioula of Burkina Faso, the homicide rate is 0.013 per 1,000 and 3.4 per cent of the population is left-handed. However, among the Eipo of Indonesia, there are three murders for every 1,000 people and 27 per cent are left handed. Faurie and Raymond suggested that the cause for this is that left-handers are more likely to survive hand-to-hand combat.

Left handed competitors tend to do better than right handed ones in sports such as tennis. It is thought that this is because right-handed people are not used to facing lefties because there are fewer of them, while left-handed people play against righties most of the time. "Because of the advantage in sports we thought there could be a similar advantage in fights," Faurie told New Scientist.

In many cultures, winning a lot of fights will enhance your status and, the theory is, in prehistory this may have increased your reproductive success, thereby explaining the greater number of left-handed people in more violent societies.

However, some scientists are unconvinced that there is a link. Chris McManus at University College London, who has researched handedness, said, "I don't think it is anything as simple as this."

He says that the sample data used is too limited to provide evidence of a link between handedness and fighting ability, and that data from industrialised cultures should have been included.

He believes that left handed people may have an advantage due to their brains being structured differently. "It may be that sometimes their brains assemble themselves in combinations that work better for certain tasks," he says.

Left handed people are more likely to have certain health problems, including immune disorders, and thus logically the trait should have been removed by natural selection. The fact that there are still lefties in the population either suggests that being left-handed provides some survival advantage, or is a product of left-handedness not being governed by simple inheritance principles. For instance, there is only a 76 per cent chance that indentical twins, who have identical genes, will both use the same writing hand.

It is not known at this time whether being ambidexterous offers a significant advantage in combat. ®

Related stories

Families fight over PCs shock
Stressed-out Spaniards attack computers with hammers
Today is Left-handers' Day

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Not a loyal follower of @BritishMonarchy? You missed The QUEEN*'s first Tweet
Her Maj opens 'Information Age' at the Science Museum
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
FedEx helps deliver THOUSANDS of spam messages DIRECT to its Blighty customers
Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
Adorkable overshare of words like photobomb in this year's dictionaries
And hipsters are finally defined as self-loathing. Sort of
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.