Hand Preference for Tool-Use in Capuchin Monkeys (Cebus apella) is Associated with Asymmetry of the Primary Motor Cortex

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Skilled motor actions are associated with handedness and neuroanatomical specializations in humans. Recent reports have documented similar neuroanatomical asymmetries and their relationship to hand preference in some nonhuman primate species, including chimpanzees and capuchin monkeys. We investigated whether capuchins displayed significant hand preferences for a tool use task and whether such preferences were associated with motor-processing regions of the brain. Handedness data on a dipping tool-use task and high-resolution 3T MRI scans were collected from 15 monkeys. Capuchins displayed a significant group-level left-hand preference for this type of tool use, and handedness was associated with asymmetry of the primary motor cortex. Left-hand preferent individuals displayed a deeper central sulcus in the right hemisphere. Our results suggest that capuchins show an underlying right-hemisphere bias for skilled movement.

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Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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American Journal of Primatology