Grey squirrels who favour particular paw are less good at learning. Here’s why
Just as humans who are usually left or right-handed, many animals also tend to favour one side of their body for different tasks. The study found that grey squirrels who strongly favoured one side had to learn to use a paw, rather than their mouth to get nuts.Updated: Jan 21, 2020 14:31 IST
A new study revealed how grey squirrels quickly learn, and how they favoured a particular paw.
The study suggested that grey squirrels who strongly favoured either side, left or right, are not good enough at learning a task.
Just as humans who are usually left or right-handed, many animals also tend to favour one side of their body for different tasks.
The study which was conducted by the University of Exeter found that these grey squirrels who strongly favoured one side had to learn to use a paw, rather than their mouth to get nuts.
Dr Lisa Leaver said: “It has been suggested that being strongly lateralised makes brains more efficient, with each hemisphere focussing on different tasks,”
“However, limited data from studies of mammals suggest a weak or even negative relationship,” she added.
The study which measured the speed of learning among grey squirrels suggests that strong lateralisation is linked to poor cognitive performance.
The experiment took the scenario of 30 squirrels and was presented with a transparent tube containing peanuts. Since the tube was too narrow, the squirrels had no option than to learn to use their paw to get the nuts.
By measuring both how quickly squirrels learned and how strongly they favoured a particular paw, the researchers could assess both learning and laterality.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)