Left-side cradling: Similarities and differences between apes and humans

J. T. Manning, R Heaton, Andrew Chamberlain

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    It is well known that human females tend to hold infants on the left side of the body. We present here data on lateral cradling preferences in 52 pairs of apes. The chimpanzee and gorilla samples show strong left-side cradling preferences (=75% and 74% respectively). Orang-utans show individual side preferences but no overall sample preference, while gibbons have a non-significant mean preference of 67%. In common with humans, gorillas have higher left-side cradling frequencies for male infants =85%) than female infants (=58%). A similar, non-significant, tendency is found in chimpanzees, orang-utans and gibbons. Human and ape patterns of left-side cradling are compared and their evolution and functional significance discussed. Copyright © 1994 Academic Press. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)77-83
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Human Evolution
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1994


    • Apes
    • Cradling
    • Humans
    • Infant gender differences
    • Laterality
    • Maternal behaviour


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