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A study shows that ambidextrous squirrels can think better than their rivals and learn new skills faster

A study shows that ambidextrous squirrels that use both legs can think better than their rivals and learn new skills more quickly

  • The researchers found that squirrels are strongly ‘lateralized’ and favor aside
  • It is believed that this trait makes the human brain more efficient
  • But it seems to be inconvenient for squirrels compared to ambidextrous

Being right or left handed is an evolutionary trait that gives humans an advantage.

But scientists have discovered that the same is apparently not true for squirrels.

In one study, those who preferred to use one leg over the other were less good at learning new tasks.

The researchers discovered that, like humans, squirrels are strongly 'lateralized' and favor one side over the other (stock image)

The researchers discovered that, like humans, squirrels are strongly ‘lateralized’ and favor one side over the other (stock image)

The researchers found that, like humans, squirrels are strongly ‘lateralized’ and favor one side over the other.

However, although it is believed that this makes the human brain more efficient, it seems to be inconvenient for squirrels compared to ambidextrous.

The scientists observed 30 wild grays when they were presented with a Perspex peanut tube.

To get them, the squirrels had to learn to use a leg to get through the holes instead of their face.

The researchers measured how quickly they learned to access nuts.

Some squirrels showed ambidexterity, while others strongly favored aside.

The results, published in the journal Learning and Behavior, showed that those who strongly favored a particular leg did worse in a learning task.

The results, published in the journal Learning and Behavior, showed that those who strongly favored a particular leg did worse in a learning task (archive image)

The results, published in the journal Learning and Behavior, showed that those who strongly favored a particular leg did worse in a learning task (archive image)

The results, published in the journal Learning and Behavior, showed that those who strongly favored a particular leg did worse in a learning task (archive image)

The study’s author, Dr. Lisa Leaver, from the University of Exeter, said: “They did not learn as fast as those who were more ambidextrous.”

She said that previously it was thought that being strongly lateralized was related to better mental performance in animals.

Dr. Leaver said studies like this suggest that, in some mammals, there is “a weak or even negative relationship.”

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