It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the leaping marsupial legends have a dominant hand — after all so do people. (About 90% of humans are right-handed.) But besides the news that kangaroos are mostly left-handed, what might come as a surprise is that it took a group of Russian scientists to discover this sinister fact — while “working” in Australia. That’s right, a group of Russians got a research gig down under and just published their study on the “Emergence of True Handedness in the Evolution of Masupials and Placentals” in Current Biology. The word sinister, by the way, used to mean left-handed, a characteristic that most past societies so frowned upon that sinister became synonymous with evil and wicked, its more common contemporary definition.
The research is important because until recently it was generally thought that only humans had “true-handedness” — or a dominant hand. It’s also possible that “true-handedness” has only developed in animals that stand upright, and that posture is a key to its development. Another informal study shows that the last two American presidents elected from the Democrat party have also been left-handed. Opinion remains divided as to whether they fit the more modern definition of sinister, or just the original.