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8 facts about the scientific mystery that affects only 10% of the population

Lefties, unite!

JESSICA ORWIG, BUSINESS INSIDER
1 MAR 2016
 

There's a minority that not many people think about that has stumped scientists for decades: lefties. About 10 percent of the human population is left-handed, yet no one knows for sure why lefties are so rare.

It's probably the result of a mix of factors, including things related to geneticsevolution, and even prenatal hormones. Or it could be the result of something else.

 

Here are some of the most interesting facts researchers have reported as they attempt to unlock the keys to left-handedness:

1. Twins are more likely to be left-handed, but no one knows why.

Source: Behaviour Genetics, 1996

2. Two left-handed parents have a 26.1 percent chance of having a left-handed child, whereas two right-handed parents only have a 9.5 percent chance.

Source: Handbook of Neuropsychology, 1992

3. Most animals show no preference for handedness, or when one hand is more dominant than the other. Humans and our closest relatives, chimps, are an exception. About 90 percent of humans and 70 percent of chimps are right-handed.

Source: Monitor on Psychology, 2009

4. By contrast, parrots seem to show a preference for using their left limbs. One study of 320 Australian parrots found that 47 percent preferred picking up food with their left foot. Another 33 percent preferred using their right, while the rest had no preference.

Source: Biology Letters, 2011

5. Handedness may develop in the womb. Researchers who recorded thumb-sucking in 75 foetuses found that, 10 years later, 100 percent of the foetuses who sucked their right thumb were right handed; 67 percent of those who sucked their left thumb were lefties.

Source: New Scientist, 2004

6. The brain's left hemisphere is thought to be dominant when it comes to language - both in terms of processing sound and helping assist with speech. Scientists have found that this is the case in 95 percent of people who are right-handed, but it's only true for about 70 percent of lefties. For the other 30 percent of us, either the right hemisphere dominates or neither side does.

Source: Behavioural and Brain Sciences, 2003

7. About 25 percent of Major League Baseball players are left handed. This could be, in part, because left-handed batters have a slight advantage, since they're one step closer to first base.

Source: LiveScience, 2008

8. Jimi Hendrix was left handed, but he usually played a right-handed guitar - just upside down and restrung for the left hand. Lefties are thought to be more creative and musically talented, but the science doesn't uphold this myth.

Source: IMDb

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

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