Monday, July 27, 2009

Right or left pawed?

Female cats tend to use their right front paw while male cats more often rely upon their left front paw, according to a new study that suggests the sex of a cat determines how its brain will be wired. Cats were given tasks to perfrom:

For the first task, the researchers placed a bit of tuna at the bottom of an otherwise empty, narrow-mouthed jar. They then observed how the cats attempted to extract the food treat.

Task two involved a fabric mouse on a string that was suspended above each cat's head. The paw that was first used to reach for the toy was recorded.

Finally, the scientists took the same toy for task two and slowly dragged it on the ground in front of the cats.

In humans, the steroid hormone testosterone has been linked to left handedness. This hormonal link also appears to carry over to animals. For example, studies on dogs that haven't been spayed or neutered show the same sex-based split, with female dogs favoring their front right paw and males favoring their left. No sex difference, however, was observed during tests involving neutered dogs.
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