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7 Facts About Lefties Backed by Science That You Probably Didn’t Know

In ancient times, instinctively carrying out all activities with the left hand (such as eating, drawing, gesturing, waving, or even throwing a ball) was frowned upon, and could be considered strange or even evil. Fortunately, times have changed, and research has been conducted to discover what lies behind the predominant use of one side of our body, making this topic more and more interesting.

At Bright Side, we want to share some curious facts with you that prove being left-handed is more than just choosing one or the other hand to write with. Also, don’t miss the bonus we prepared especially for you at the end of the article.

1. One in 10 people in the world is left-handed.

In April 2020, one of the most ambitious studies on left-handedness was published, revealing that at least 10.6% of people in the world are born with this characteristic, i.e. approximately one in 10 human beings.

The variant ranges from 9.3% to as high as 18%, but it depends on the region. However, in some cultures this genetic trait is still considered to be linked to ancient concepts of evil, calling left-handed people sinister and preventing children from developing as such from an early age.

2. Left-handedness is related to a higher level of competitiveness.

A curious thing about left-handed people is that having a different dominant hand makes them better at competitive activities (e.g., a head-to-head fight). This is because right-handed people are used to dealing with people and tools that do not challenge their skills.

However, in everyday life, left-handed people have to deal with the vast majority of tools designed for right-handed use and must coexist with people who operate with the opposite side of their body, opening their field of action on both sides and thus gaining a physical advantage.

3. Being left-handed is in the genes.

Whether a baby is born left-handed or right-handed is a matter of genetics, and that’s not all, there are more than 40 aspects of our DNA that make us prefer one or the other hand to discover the world from an early age.

The fact that one of the parents is left-handed can increase the probability that their children will be born with this characteristic. However, it is not just genetics, but also the environment and stimuli during pregnancy that together mark a tendency toward left-handedness.

4. There are more left-handed men than women.

The planet is made up of more right-handers than left-handers, but the world of left-handers is dominated by the male gender. Men have a 12% possibility to become lefties, while that percentage for women is at 10%. And while the 2% difference seems irrelevant, with the already low possibility of being left-handed, it is quite substantial.

A good example can be found in the population of the UK, where 8.6% of women are left-handed, with the percentage for men being at 10.6%.

5. Most kangaroos are left-handed.

A study published in the journal Current Biology revealed that, contrary to what happens in humans, kangaroos are more likely to be born left-handed. This was observed by a team of Russian scientists who studied different breeds like the red kangaroo, the eastern gray kangaroo, the red-necked kangaroo, and the tree kangaroo, among others.

Their finding was that even if marsupials feed on 2 or 4 legs, depending on the breed and regardless of their gender, they have a very marked inclination to develop their activities with the left side in general.

6. The Netherlands is the most left-handed region in the world.

We now know that only 10% of people are born left-handed. However, they are not evenly distributed around the world. According to statistics, the Netherlands is the country with the largest left-handed population, followed by the United States.

The regions with the fewest people with this laterality are Japan and China, with 4.70% and 3.50% of their population respectively.

7. Our pets are more likely to be left-handed.

It’s not just kangaroos that can be left-handed. This genetic peculiarity can also reach our pets. A study revealed that 63% of dogs give preference to the use of one paw, while 37% did not show any inclination for any particular side. 32% of dogs showed a preference for the right side and 31% for the use of the left paw.

With respect to cats, 75% showed a preference for one paw only, while 25% used both limbs indistinctly. It was also found that female cats are more likely to be right-handed than male cats.

Bonus: Celebrities you might not know are left-handed

In music, science, acting, and the arts, in general, there are (and were) also people whose dominant hand is left, and some of them are:

  • Angelina Jolie, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tim Allen, David Bowie, Ben Stiller, Jennifer Lawrence, Owen Wilson, Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Tina Fey, Tom Cruise, Jim Carrey, Lisa Kudrow, among many other celebrities.

And you, how many left-handed people do you know? If you are left-handed, what funny things usually happen to you when you use your other hand?

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