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  Clever crows are right-handed
Updated 12 December 2001, 19.53
New Caledonian crow, Gavin Hunt
image: Gavin Hunt

A clever species of crow is causing scientists to puzzle over how most human beings came to be right-handed.

The bird has been seen ripping pieces from leaves and then using them as tools to get at insects.

That's pretty amazing on its own, but what really gets the scientists in a spin is that when it does this, it uses its right claw more than its left.

New Caledonian crow, Gavin Hunt
image: Gavin Hunt
Head scratching

Until now, it was thought only humans, gorillas and chimps were either right or left-handed, but the Pacific crow's preference means that it may change the way doctors think we become right-handed. Or left for that matter.

It was thought that humans are mainly right-handed because the part of the brain used for speech is also the part used to move the body's right side.

The discovery of "right-clawed-ness" in crows now suggests it's something more general like the problem-solving ability we see in both crows and chimps.

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