Handedness in monkeys reflects hemispheric specialization within the central sulcus. An in vivo MRI study in right- and left-handed olive baboons


  • Margiotoudi Konstantina
  • Marie Damien
  • Claidière Nicolas
  • Coulon Olivier
  • Roth Muriel
  • Nazarian Bruno
  • Lacoste Romain
  • Hopkins William D.
  • Molesti Sandra
  • Fresnais Pauline
  • Anton Jean-Luc
  • Meguerditchian Adrien


  • Central sulcus
  • Baboons
  • Asymmetries
  • Hemispheric specialization
  • Handedness

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Handedness, one of the most prominent expressions of laterality, has been historically considered unique to human. This noteworthy feature relates to contralateral inter-hemispheric asymmetries in the motor hand area following the mid-portion of the central sulcus. However, within an evolutionary approach, it remains debatable whether hand preferences in nonhuman primates are associated with similar patterns of hemispheric specialization. In the present study conducted in Old world monkeys, we investigate anatomical asymmetries of the central sulcus in a sample of 86 olive baboons (Papio anubis) from in vivo T1 anatomical magnetic resonance images (MRI). Out of this sample, 35 individuals were classified as right-handed and 28 as left-handed according to their hand use responses elicited by a bimanual coordinated tube task. Here we report that the direction and degree of hand preference (left or right), as measured by this manual task, relates to and correlates with contralateral hemispheric sulcus depth asymmetry, within a mid-portion of the central sulcus. This neuroanatomical manifestation of handedness in baboons located in a region, which may correspond to the motor hand area, questions the phylogenetic origins of human handedness that may date back to their common ancestor, 25–40 millions years ago.

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