Baboons and infants exhibit similar gesturing behaviour

Washington, Mar 22: Both human infants and baboons have a stronger inclination towards using their right hand to gesture than for a simple grasping task, a new study has revealed.

The finding supports the hypothesis that language development, which is lateralized in the left part of the human brain, is based on a common gestural communication system.

The researchers, led by Helene Meunier of the University of Strasbourg in France, found that hand preference of both infants and baboons for grasping tasks depended on the location of the object, but there was significant preference for the right hand when pointing (using a communicative gesture) at a specific stimulus, even when the stimulus was closer to the left hand.

The authors concluded that their results suggest a common gestural communication system localized in the left hemisphere of the brain that in humans was later “invaded” by vocalization to become language.

The study has been published in the open access journal PLoS ONE. (ANI)