How did Neanderthals talk? A study gives us a clue (and reveals the role of handedness in language)

Research recently published claims that Neanderthals, the ancient cousins of modern humans, were right-hand dominant just like Homo sapiens. The finding offers insights into Neanderthal brain development, including language capability.

The roundabout way the discovery was made starts with a tooth. To process an animal hide, a Neanderthal would hold one side of the hide in the mouth and stretch it out with the hands. The hide would be worked with the dominant hand, leaving scratches on the front teeth in a consistent pattern from the upper left to the bottom right.

Handedness, also called chirality and sinistrality, is often linked with language development. The two parts of the brain that control listening and speaking are in the left hemisphere. Broca’s Area is in the frontal lobe near the motor cortex that controls the mouth. In addition to speech production, Broca’s Area has been implicated in the production of syntactic structures and use of grammar.

(On a related note, learn why right-handedness is called “right,” and if that means left is somehow connected to “wrong,” here.)

Wernicke’s Area is in the posterior portion of the temporal lobe and is responsible for speech comprehension. Speech and handedness are both fine motor skills, and it has been hypothesized that the left hemisphere’s specialization in fine motor skills is a method of energy efficiency for the brain. However there are no clear conclusions about why humans use their left hemisphere for verbal processing.

We have all heard about right and left brain dominance and handedness: the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body and the left side controls the right. This is called lateralization. There are some unfortunate generalizations about handedness, brain dominance, and personality highlighted by pop psychology that don’t need to be repeated here. In short, the left side of the brain is where most humans process linear reasoning and language; the right side of the brain is where most humans process visual and aural information, spatial manipulation and facial perception along with artistic ability. These descriptions are unfortunately brief for a very in depth and fascinating subject.

Right-hand dominance is the latest in a growing list of evidence that Neanderthals had language. In 2008 the French archeologist Francisco D’Errico hypothesized that Neanderthals had language based on artifacts related to symbolic meaning, such as body paint, beads and other decorative materials. In addition, the only bone in the vocal tract, the hyoid, in Neanderthals and in early Homo sapiens is strikingly similar, especially in contrast to the vocal tracts of the great apes, our other cousins. Great apes have an air sac that produces a huge booming sound, but not articulation. Neanderthals and modern humans do not have an air sac. The hypothesis is that the sac diminished as survival became dependent on what was said, not how loud it was said.

Humans are the only modern primates that show a preference for right hand dominance. Between 70 – 90% of people today are right-hand dominant. The left-handed minority has been consistently 10 – 30% throughout history. When analyzed, individuals who are left handed show brain activity related to language in either the left side of the brain of both sides of the brain. Left-handed children have a statistically significant increase in language development problems, specifically phonology (sound distinction).


US Fed News Service, Including US State News December 1, 2011 HOUSTON, Nov. 28 — The University of Texas System of MD Anderson Cancer Center issued the following news release:

The MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors (BOV), an appointive board of volunteers dedicated to advancing the initiatives of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, welcomes 16 new members in Fiscal Year 2012. These business and community leaders from Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Georgia join more than 200 BOV members who assist in raising funds, awareness and support for MD Anderson.

“We’re privileged and delighted to welcome these outstanding people who bring enormous insight and energy to the Board of Visitors,” said BOV chair Nancy B. Loeffler of San Antonio. “I look forward to working together in our journey toward Making Cancer History.(r)” Since its inception in 1957, the BOV has played a crucial role in the institution’s mission to eradicate cancer, according to Patrick B. Mulvey, vice president for development at MD Anderson. see here md anderson cancer center

“The board is responsible for significant philanthropic contributions to the institution as well as priceless gifts of time and talents that are crucial in driving the institution’s cancer research and patient care initiatives,” said Mulvey.

New BOV members for FY2012 are:

Brent A. Benoit, Baytown, Texas partner with the law firm of Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP, specializing in securities litigation and complex commercial litigation Rosanette (Rose) Saragusa Cullen, Houston, Texas Community and civic volunteer Jerry Dickman, Tulsa, Okla.

Manager of Chapman Foundations Management, co-trustee of Chapman family charitable private foundations headquartered in Tulsa Walter W. Driver Jr., Atlanta, Ga.

Chairman-Southeast of Goldman Sachs & Co., a global investment banking, securities and investment management firm Christine G. (Christy) Everest, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Former chairman and chief executive officer for the Oklahoma Publishing Company, which publishes The Oklahoman, the state’s major newspaper James H. (Jim) Everest, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Managing partner of Everest Brothers, partner of White Tail Farm and president of the Jean I. Everest Foundation James L. (Jim) Gallogly, Houston, Texas Chief executive officer of LyondellBasell Industries, one of the world’s largest olefins, polyolefins, chemicals and refining companies Janelle Hail, Frisco, Texas Founder and chief executive officer of the National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc., one of the world’s most highly recognized and respected breast cancer charities Demos T. Kyrazis, Ph. mdandersoncancercenternow.com md anderson cancer center

D., Albuquerque, N.


Principal of R-Cubed Inc., an engineering services firm he founded in 1993 specializing in high resolution atmospheric turbulence measurements The Honorable Janiece Longoria, Houston, Texas Partner in the law firm of Ogden Gibson Broocks Longoria & Hall LLP and former member of The University of Texas System Board of Regents Scott E. Rozzell, Houston, Texas Executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of CenterPoint Energy Inc., a domestic energy delivery company Thomas “Tom” V. Rushing, Houston, Texas Senior vice president-investments with the Private Banking and Investment Group at Merrill Lynch Michael S. Samis, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Investor with interests in real estate, oil and gas, manufacturing and health care Jan A. Levit Silver, Houston, Texas Executive vice president of Grocers Supply Co. Inc Roy S. (Steve) Thomas III, Atlanta, Ga.

Co-founder and managing director of EastCoast Entertainment Inc., an entertainment agency with 10 offices across the country, arranging entertainment and producing events around the world Margaret (Peggy) Thompson, Dallas, Texas Community volunteer involved in a number of organizations including the Nexus Recovery Center, St. Paul Foundation, Junior League of Dallas and Catholic Charities For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at htsyndication@hindustantimes.com


  1. Cloverpaw -  November 21, 2013 - 5:23 am

    @Everybody who’s connecting this stuff with Catholicism:
    Being right-handed or left-handed has nothing to do with Catholicism. Catholicism is about belief in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

    Actually, all animals “talk” in some way or another, although most use body language and facial expressions rather than (or at least more than) sounds.

    Warrior cats rule! Go ThunderClan! My name is Cloverpaw and I’m a ThunderClan apprentice. My mentor is Cinderheart; she’s a great mentor. When I become a warrior I’m going to be the best hunter in the forest.

  2. JD -  February 24, 2012 - 7:37 am

    Actually, right-handed favoritism did not start with the Church. Ancient Romans had a practice of discouraging left-handedness, as they believed it to be unnatural. The Bedouin also preferred right-handedness.

  3. Tammy D -  June 12, 2011 - 3:23 pm

    Or just search for Neanderthals Language Teeth. It pulls up a lot of stuff. I’d recommend the WiredScience article.

  4. Lefty -  May 18, 2011 - 4:48 pm

    SouthPaw, Surda not a righty but a Lefty! Very interesting Indeed!! I have heard and seen a lot of the injustice done to us Lefties!!

  5. eeeeeeeee -  May 17, 2011 - 2:21 am


  6. rainfalls -  May 14, 2011 - 3:13 pm

    @Anon- left handed is really not an abomination but God is real
    and i hope most people with common sense can see that

    * carlitos might be wrong for most of the people here but that’s ok
    no one’s perfect and everyone makes mistake
    if he’s wrong then let him know, don’t throw stones at him

    * just some thoughts ;-)

  7. Tobias Mook -  May 13, 2011 - 6:00 pm

    Oh, and humans did not evolve from Neanderthals. Homo Sapiens branched from Neanderthals and their common ancestor. Neanderthals died out, Homo Sapiens became modern humans.

  8. Tobias Mook -  May 13, 2011 - 5:57 pm

    Alright, I doubt any one will read this, but to whatever curious young mind stumbles down here, know this. I believe in God just as much as the Pope, but that doesn’t mean I should force it on anyone. Both sides here are wrong. Naturally some Catholics were taught things others weren’t. That’s the same for anything. That does not mean you can peg a group as bad or not, individuals are what matter. And evolution should not be discriminated against. Specie change but for the better, so shouldn’t we change with them? Have a little love in your hearts people. :)

  9. Ray Shell -  May 13, 2011 - 3:38 pm

    There are righties who are really creative.

    Maybe you didn’t mean it that way but yeah. :(

  10. Ray Shell -  May 13, 2011 - 3:37 pm

    Don’t be such a stereotype Linda! Sorry to sound annoying but yeah.

  11. Espoir -  May 11, 2011 - 3:38 pm

    There is an interesting evolutionary argument for the ‘rightness’ of the right hand and it does have to do with homosexuality.

    Right-handedness is intuitively linked with heterosexuality and left-handedness with homosexuality, probably because all penises with a curve turn towards the right.

    Since homosexuality works contra reproduction, and left-handedness which like is seen in the same deviant pattern, the hand thus became associated at an unconscious level with the preference.

    Furthermore, it has been abundantly proven that masturbation is mostly carried out with the left hand and the fact that when one is masturbating they cannot protect themselves or their family must have played a role in the lack of ‘rightness’ in left, either that or I am in dire need of a shrink!!!

  12. Ralf -  May 11, 2011 - 10:09 am

    “We have all heard about right and left brain dominance and handedness: the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body and the left side controls the right. This is called lateralization.”

    This is not correct. Lateralization means that both the left and right hemispheres are specialized in certain tasks. There’s also a term for the “crossed” motor control described here, but can’t remember it right now… Anyone???

  13. Maximonk -  May 10, 2011 - 10:01 pm

    @MrWikipedia I think it is good that ALL comments are published – we are then free to see how bigoted/stupid/ill-educated people can be.
    It is fascinating to see how the discussion evolves – in this case from Neandertal language & teeth to left-handedness.
    My experience in the 30s was the usual chopping and changing theories in school, so I was left- then right- then left-handed. By growing up in a right-handed world, I was forced to become ambidextrous (try using scissors in your left hand!). The result , I think was to make me very DEXTROUS. I don’t know if I am poor with language, but I am not socially facile – maybe through being different (how sinister!)

  14. Wash Phillips -  May 10, 2011 - 2:17 pm

    Alas, the article is actually consomme pretending to be stew.

  15. Science4God -  May 10, 2011 - 1:21 pm

    Very interesting how Neaderthals created “culture” and they were able to create language. The only thing that I can say about Left-handed people is that they’re a very difficult opponents in Tennis. :P

  16. louis paiz -  May 10, 2011 - 1:17 pm

    my douther can use bouth hands right and left she is a a very smart sucssesful woman a god mother,wife friend.i never have heard nothing bad about left or right or asociated with devil none sense for me my respects for whomever think different. thank you very much

  17. dcmann -  May 10, 2011 - 12:32 pm

    It is my understanding that both Michelangelo and Leonardo di Vinci were left handed. Left-handers have nothing to feel inferior about.

  18. Lynne Cordero -  May 10, 2011 - 10:40 am

    Since noticeable differences have been observed in both left and right handed individuals in the area of language, and we know that the right and left hemispheres of the brain have control of different functional processes, it would be interesting to explore other areas of differences in the behavior and functionality of left handed versus right handed individuals.

    Also, I am extremely curious as to whether there would be enhanced performance and more versatility, or a less complicated process in functioning due to a more generalized and diffuse utilization of the brain in ambidextrous individuals.

  19. Elizabeth -  May 10, 2011 - 9:43 am

    I don’t understand how all of this went to religion…and about judging homosexuals, or gay people, or lesbians…but im with what Carlitos said.

  20. sebasxian10 -  May 10, 2011 - 9:12 am

    You are forgetting there is no nurture vs. nature! It’s nurture AND nature!
    If someone born left handed is predisposed to being behind in language, or reversely if a right handed person is predisposed to be behind in creativity, it doesn’t mean they will stay that way. School, a linguistic happy family, an artistic friend etc help shape this person, not just the genetics or hard wiring they have been dealt at birth.

    My brother is left handed. At an early age he had to get special help with phonology, as the article says. He said all his “R’s” as “W’s” among other things, but because he got this extra help he is perfectly fine with language now. He excels in school and is in advanced classes.

    I am right handed. I had no trouble with school but sucked at drawing. My grandmother is an artist and I was at her house a lot as a kid and she started to teach me. Now I love drawing and writing.

    So being left handed or right handed predisposes people to certain strengths and weaknesses or patterns of thought, but every person’s experience and schooling shapes what we have naturally. I imagine in neanderthals, who didn’t have an education system to get everyone up to speed on language, the fact that most of them were predisposed naturally to excel at language, indicated by being right handed, meant more back then than now.

  21. BangiAngie -  May 10, 2011 - 9:07 am

    I would love to know where this recently published research came from to read more. Can you provide any links or the names of the publication (s) this research appeared in?

  22. Greg -  May 10, 2011 - 8:27 am

    I didn’t know that Adam and Eve were Neanderthals. Cool!

  23. Afsar Ali -  May 10, 2011 - 8:26 am

    Interesting article and interesting comments. Like them all

  24. David -  May 10, 2011 - 8:14 am

    I’m left handed and I hate the definition. But at least being left handed has some good attributes.

  25. Science4God -  May 10, 2011 - 7:47 am

    Carlitos: whatever happens to you before, I hope it will heal. Whether you beleive in God or not… as for me, I will pray for you in my Tatay’s name.

  26. Johnny B -  May 10, 2011 - 7:15 am

    This is a blog about words – not religion!! If you insist on selling your religious beliefs please find a blog that is more appropriate. You cannot bring people to your religion by making them angry – and you’re really starting to PISS ME OFF!!

  27. TERMINATOR -  May 10, 2011 - 6:30 am

    WOW yall are so lame for fightin over somethin so old and irrelivent in todays socity.Anyone left-handed or right-handed can do the same job and learn at the same pace it is all up to them . SO SHUTUP!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Carlitos -  May 10, 2011 - 6:10 am

    @Miguel – great response, and well articulated. But wrong. Ask the nuns who beat us for using our left hands, and these are the wives of Jesus! And to what you say about acting on temptation- the implication is that we are all sinners. No one is exempt from acting on bad temptations. You poison the air you breathe and the water you drink. You pay taxes that support unjust wars. You vote for those who would oppress some for the good of some others. Oh, but confess and it’s forgiven. How very convenient.

    The authorities also taught us that the world was created 5,000 years ago by God, so how can Neandertals’ teeth show how handedness came to be when Neandertals didn’t ever exist?

    @Quest – please see KittyCat’s response re: persecution of lefties in modern times (LA in the 80s). Also, anyone who subscribes to the dogmas of classical religion is conservative, by the very definition. Like, duh! :) Also, evolution doesn’t just apply to life on this planet. It applies to cosmic evolution as well. So how many were excommunicated, labeled as heretics, and burned at the stake for proposing theories of solar-centricity? Or rejecting God as the creator of the universe? Please… Many were ostracized for believing in evolution. “Repent or perish!” Remeber your inquisitions and crusades. A religion that would ever drive ones to perform such acts is surely ugly and primitive.

    As far as handedness goes; science can explain it and already has. Science can explain virtually everything in the natural world, though not at the drop of a hat like the bible can. With hard work, experimentation and reasoning it surely will provide answers to those who bother to work for them.

    I recommend ambidextrosity- the best of both worlds! And it can be learned, by anyone! :)

  29. Science4God -  May 10, 2011 - 5:36 am

    Carlitos: Your so funny, seriously. Now I think things are adding up in my head why your we’re like that… I’ve never heard of that left handed were abomination, Catholic or Protestant teaching, never… I grow up as a Catholic but went to a Baptist School. And I never ever heard of that thing that your saying. You really made me laugh, of all the postings that you made… this is the funniest so far. And regarding Homosexuals, you need to research about this word called “Choice” as well… Because not everything was created by God, some were create in China. Lol. Neanderthals were able to talk because they’ve learn in there process of “evolution”. Like what I’ve said before, I beleive in evolution because without it… Me, you Carlito, all of us will not be here.

  30. jame -  May 10, 2011 - 12:41 am

    the neanthertals are right-handed and they looks like that..no wonder left-handed are more good looking than right handed.. gud thing im a left-handed.. because im so damn good looking.. hahaha !!! just kiddin’ ! =)

  31. jame -  May 10, 2011 - 12:32 am

    it’s not my choice to be left-handed,i was born this way, and i dont hate being one of the “weirdos” as what other people term to abnormals.. hehe,infact i feel so unique coz’ u know only few are left-handed .. =)

  32. Blue sock -  May 10, 2011 - 12:26 am

    Isn’t it possible God created apes and we evolved from them but that was his plan? That’s what I think anyway. I’m religious but I also love science. You can’t ignore hard evidence about evolution but I couldn’t imagine not believing in God = )

  33. pam -  May 10, 2011 - 12:21 am

    what’s the issue? it’s just a study it does not necessarily mean that it’s true.. i have a left handed son and he’s every inch as perfect as my other right-handed children (proud mom)

  34. Eugene -  May 9, 2011 - 10:19 pm

    Left handed people shouldn’t take offense. It just means that left handed people have a harder time with language, not that their incapable of it or that they can never be as good as right handed people. Not a big deal.

  35. Aboli Chavan -  May 9, 2011 - 9:17 pm

    ” Left-handed children have a statistically significant increase in language development problems, specifically phonology (sound distinction).”
    ….Any evidences?

    I wonder what might be the case with ambidextrous people.

  36. This Guy -  May 9, 2011 - 8:53 pm

    At P. Bond: I’m assuming you’re left-handed? And I don’t know if your “run-ins” are exactly a credible source for left/right-hand demographics. About what you said about how “right-handed people think everything is about right-handedness?” This article isn’t exactly biased either way, but just does not give the full scope. It describes how it is known that lefties may have problems in language and speech, but does not talk about how righties may have problems in creativity and artistic-ness. I am not prioritizing either side, but I believe that because A) there are more righties (which you may not believe) and B) the education, business, and political, etc. trends of the world have created more of a focus on, say, lefties’ language problems rather than righties’ creativity troubles, this article only addresses one of those.

  37. KittyCat -  May 9, 2011 - 8:36 pm


    I know people here are giving you a hard time. I’m here to back you up a little.

    I was a lefty when I was in kindergarten. My mom’s religious friend came over one day and saw me doing homework with my left hand. She told my mom (also Catholic) that left-handedness was somehow associated with the devil.

    From that moment on, my mother made me use my right hand to write, hold a spoon, brush my teeth, etc. She spanked me when she caught me using my left hand. She bought me a gold bracelet and put it on my right wrist to remind me to use my right hand. This didn’t happen in the Medieval times, this happened here in the United States living in Los Angeles in the 80′s.

    I am a very clumsy person and I wonder if it has anything to do with forcing my brain to think I’m right-handed. I have tried to be left-handed now but too late.

    I joke with my mom by holding her responsible for my clumsiness! Probably not true, but it’s funny.

    Still living as a right-handed person.

  38. Naomi -  May 9, 2011 - 8:04 pm

    I know a pair of twins, one right-handed, one left-handed. They are both about the same in terms of creativity and language developement. They are both bilingual, and can speak and write quite well in both languages, and have done so since a very young age. If this does not cast doubt upon the conclusion of the article, I am not sure what would…

  39. Alex -  May 9, 2011 - 6:55 pm

    Really doggo5? duh. of course we’re modern primates. And Jessica, wow u knos ur stuff– another reason why the left hand side is bad comes from medieval times. when kings would call counsels they all sat around the table and the king put the distrusted on his left. If they were to attack by sword, the king could easily draw his sword, hung on his left side, and hold it against the attacker; thus the left hand shows distrust.

  40. Kelsey -  May 9, 2011 - 6:22 pm

    Does handedness really matter? I mean,I wear a shoe size size ten. This doesn’t set my brain off from someone who wears a shoe size 7 does it? Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about here, but I know many left handers who do not have any language issues. And next time an article is written, maybe it will be in terms someone without a PhD can understand. I mean, I’m 12, I’m interested, and I want to learn something without calling for my mommy. Is that so hard?

  41. George William Herbert -  May 9, 2011 - 5:41 pm

    As an administrator on Wikipedia, I consider the comments on here very uncivil. If I were an admin here, I would be handing out several civility warnings and possibly blocks if the incivility did not stop.

    At Wikipedia, I have blocked the likes of Turian, Who then was a gentleman?, Pmanderson, and Malleus Fatuorum when they have strayed beyond the confines of WP:CIVIL, which can be read in full at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:CIVIL.

    Good faith and the sincere belief that the civility rules are way too harsh covers the original comment. But when such editors reject anyone else’s having taken offense as illegitimate, they’re disavowing responsibility for the effects that you have on others. And that is abusive. They are responsible for those effects, even if they feel that they’re within your rights to make biting commentary and use naughty words. When they offend people, their taking offense is as legitimate a reaction as their sincere belief that the civility rules are too harsh. When they belittle them or ridicule them for complaining, it delegitimizes their original stance.

    It would be wise for the participants here to wise up going forward.

    Find a balance point that doesn’t involve dehumanizing those you offend. “I didn’t mean that as a personal attack” and not questioning their motives would be a perfectly neutral and non-escalating position to take that doesn’t delegitimize your feelings about the civility policy.

    George William Herbert
    Proud Wikipedia administrator

  42. Fungible -  May 9, 2011 - 4:37 pm

    Oh, sorry, the FOUR comments about not destroying books. Why do people always have to drag irrelevant things into these comments? Religion, especially. Facts about religion are fine, but people need to quit using this as a way to criticize people’s religious beliefs and actually discuss things.

  43. Dima -  May 9, 2011 - 4:33 pm

    The findings are jibberish.

  44. Fungible -  May 9, 2011 - 4:30 pm

    This was a cool article. I didn’t know about the hyoid and think that’s interesting. What I don’t understand are the three comments about not destroying books; it seems totally unrelated to the topic…

  45. Jaswinder Sandhu -  May 9, 2011 - 4:21 pm

    Right-handedness and the development of language theory is illogical as for as I think. The brain functions can reverse in case of emergencies. Lefties are equally well in language skills and sports. They actually add an interesting variation of human body’s potentialities. Even the language developments in Chinese and others are different because of the scripts not because of handedness. What I want to stress is that this theory needs to be thoroughly researched and founded on evidence before its popularization.

  46. Chelsea-Brooke -  May 9, 2011 - 4:01 pm

    Omgee! i’m a lefty. && I feel weird now.

  47. askfm -  May 9, 2011 - 3:52 pm

    Blog fail. Evolution is a myth.

  48. Arn -  May 9, 2011 - 3:46 pm

    I’m left-handed, right-footed, have above average language processing abilities—I work as a professional translator/interpreter, as a matter of fact—and the manners of a neanderthal. Living proof that the study is right.

  49. Jessica -  May 9, 2011 - 3:15 pm

    Hey Carlitos the reason left-ies are considered an abomination is because before Christianity spread in Rome they practiced the sacred feminene- the belief that woman and the goddess are amazing and the mystic ness of birth. and since right is considered the male side and left the female thats why left handedness is sin. You know the same thing goes for sexual intercourse. It is because of Leonardo Da Vinci’s left handedness, backwards righting, hidden messages in paintings (including “Madonna on the Rocks” (first edition) and “The Last Supper”) and flamboyant homosexuality that the Church hated him. further more that’s the reason “Mona Lisa” was portrayed from the right side giving of hints at androgyny and a possible self portrait.

  50. doggo5 -  May 9, 2011 - 3:08 pm

    They called us modern primates!

  51. Russ -  May 9, 2011 - 2:47 pm

    I found the article interesting, but awkward. Perhaps written by a rightie? Also, the info conflicted with most other data I’ve read about right and left handedness. Isn’t the right side of the brain the seat of speech and language development?

  52. Jorussco -  May 9, 2011 - 2:33 pm

    Sorry, the article lost my interest at, ‘The roundabout way the discovery was made starts with a tooth.’ It’s ridiculous (impossible) how so much can be made from so little, much like the supposed facts that surround the observed theory of evolution. I’m not looking to provoke argument but rather promote truth. Surprising how such little substance has the ability to pollute masses of minds with deception.

  53. P.Bond -  May 9, 2011 - 2:16 pm

    Very interesting article. Discovering facts about the past is great.

    Why do right-handed people think everything is about right-handedness? Maybe there were just as many left-handed Neanderthals as there were right-handed ones. It would be great to learn more facts about left-handedness and not see it dismissed so easily. It’s possible left-handed people use more of their brains then right-handed people. Right side for creativity and left side for analytical. Since left-handed people use the right side of their brain, then it can be said they are in their right minds. The percentage 10%-30% of the population is left-handed seems a little low. Half my son’s grade one class was left-handed and half of the people I meet are left-handed. Now that left-handed people are not being forced to become right-handed, the percentage of left-handed people is becoming higher.
    And for the above comment left-handedness is NOT an abomination.
    Northern BC, Canada

  54. uh -  May 9, 2011 - 1:47 pm

    well this makes absolutely no sense at all. i mean the last paragraph.

    left handed people process language through either:
    1) their left side
    2) both left AND right

    and because of this it makes them have more problems with language development? if 1) applies, shouldn’t it be that they have an advantage to language development, while 2) i GUESS would mean that they do have problems? wait what? i don’t get it. i’m a right-brained right-handed person btw does that explain anything.

  55. Essence of Awesomeness -  May 9, 2011 - 1:44 pm

    I thought this was a very interesting article. Acctually, the guy who left the comment about religious conservatives is right, in a way. Something about the word left, or whatever is deprived from the latin word sinistra, which means sinister. And if you were left handed back then, they would either cut off your left hand and force you to be a righty, or they would just force you to be a righty.
    The person who left the first comment is right, too. Lefties are more creative, and artistic. Whereas righties tend to be more organized. Don’t take this information as – how shall we say? spot on. I know lots of righties who are creative (mqybe not as much as lefties) and aren’t organized, and vise versa.
    I’m a lefty, so I generally will lean towards the lefty half of this debate :)

  56. diction isn't fiction -  May 9, 2011 - 1:33 pm

    Some people don’t know whether they are really right- or left-handed because their parents or teachers forced them to be right-handed. Personally, I think we should eliminate the perception that right-handedness is the right (correct) way, because each type is valuable in its own way. Additionally, there are many exceptions to the rule, i.e. right-handed people who are exceedingly creative or left-handed people who are linguistically gifted.
    And one more thing: What about ambidextrous people? Are they supposedly equal in language skills and creativity? Do you think it is a natural trait or always learned?
    Thanks for the informative article.

  57. KnuckleDragger -  May 9, 2011 - 1:16 pm

    Very interesting. Neanderthals are thought to have had language, but one less sophisticated than Homo sapiens. This has been postulated because the hyoid bone sits higher in the throat than in modern humans, changing the location of the larynx. Some believe that this indicates that there were limits to the types of sounds the Neanderthals could produce. Given that their technology did not change much over time, and that modern humans experienced an technological and cultural explosion beginning about 90,000 years ago, it has been theorized that modern humans developed complex speech at that time and that Neanderthals never did.

  58. Anon -  May 9, 2011 - 1:16 pm

    In response to Carlitos: God isn’t real and being left-handed isn’t an abomination. Most people with common sense can see that.

  59. Maria S. -  May 9, 2011 - 1:13 pm

    Although interesting, this article doesn’t acknowledge that many great writers and actors are left-handed, which would seem to demonstrate a better understanding of language, not a problematic one.

  60. Maria -  May 9, 2011 - 1:12 pm

    Although interesting, this article fails to acknowledge that many great writers and actors are left-handed, which would seem to demonstrate a better understanding of language, not a problematic one.

  61. Canyon Shearer -  May 9, 2011 - 12:59 pm

    Very interesting, considering that Neanderthals never existed! What a dumb religion would publish an article like this trying to support its factless faith by pretending and speculating that a being that never existed (at least has no evidence of existing) communicated.

  62. Emily -  May 9, 2011 - 12:54 pm

    do not know.do not know why i wrote this.I think i was looking the definition of crystal habit and i came across this and i scrolled all the way to the bottom and wrote something for no reason.

    YUP! that is why i wrote this.

    WOO HOO!!!!!! I know why I wrote this

  63. marci -  May 9, 2011 - 12:17 pm

    I don’t know who your Catholic teachers were. I am Catholic and have been taught a completely different story. It is true the Catholic church has done a poor job teaching the doctrine, but thank God it also had asked for forgiveness for the wrong doing. The Catholic church is a church that embraces all political ideologies, right, left, center, gay, lesbians, all races, You need to be proactive and keep updating your knowledge of the faith. Good luck.

  64. Quest -  May 9, 2011 - 12:05 pm

    Carlitos -

    What’s your problem, dude? No Catholic in their right mind today would persecute someone for being left-handed. Maybe in medieval times, but I think you’re forgetting that EVERYONE was religious back then and run by a power-hungry catholic circus. And what do right-handed Catholics have to do with conservatives today? That’s a bit of a stretch, mate. Credit for the effort!

    BUT this is an article about brains, hands, and cavemen. Why did you make a pointed effort to drag in politics? Do you want to ruffle some feathers and start a fight? This isn’t the time, or the place, my friend. If you have nothing to add to the article, or your appreciation for it, perhaps it would be wise to keep your beliefs to yourself.

  65. Eisai -  May 9, 2011 - 12:00 pm

    Science is always open-minded and never prejudiced by mundane beliefs.

  66. genevieve -  May 9, 2011 - 11:59 am

    Catholics are not taught anything about left-handedness. You are confusing old wives’ tales or superstition with doctrine!

  67. Miguel -  May 9, 2011 - 11:42 am

    Carlitos, please don’t be silly; there is nothing in Catholic doctrine about right vs. left handedness. If perhaps you’ve met Catholics that had some prejudice or superstition about that, that’s a whole other thing, but the religion itself has nothing to say about it. Regarding homosexuality, the Catholic position is that homosexual *acts* are a sin, yes, but so is lying, or downloading pirated songs, or getting angry without cause. Also, please note that it is not feeling attracted to people of the same sex that is a sin (which amounts to a temptation, just like a temptation to act out angrily is not a sin), but acting on those inclinations. The reason is that such impulses are not consistent with the telos or end of the sexual act and with the ultimate human good that is furthered by that act. You may disagree with that, or more likely not understand what it means due to poor philosophical education, but the point is that for Catholics people with same sex attractions are no different from people who have a proclivity to eat immoderately, or to act out angrily. It is society that places a particular stigma on that sin, and true Catholicism would call that seeing the splinter on the other person’s eye, while ignoring the beam on your own.

    With regards to evolution, again you are misinformed. Catholicism has *never* opposed the theory of evolution, and if you don’t believe me I dare you to find a single official Catholic document or teaching of the pope in which such opposition is stated. The situation is quite the contrary. In fact, St. Augustine in the 4th century AD had already advanced a theory very much like our modern understanding of evolution, except without a specific explanation of the particular process (natural selection) that would cause the animals to evolve. You are seriously misinformed and I recommend a little more reading before you smugly discount what you understand so poorly.

  68. mk -  May 9, 2011 - 11:37 am

    Chirality? The more appropriate antonym of sinsitral is dextral.

  69. Linda Transter -  May 9, 2011 - 11:32 am

    Everything said about left handers are the opposite to me and I am left handed. Perhaps i have a pinched nerve somewhere.

  70. Sir Mike Tallon, PhD -  May 9, 2011 - 11:21 am

    You’d imagine a Dilbert-blog audience responding to these articles, but reading through the comments would tell you otherwise.

  71. zeth -  May 9, 2011 - 11:06 am

    who would do sutsh things to a book

  72. Sean -  May 9, 2011 - 10:39 am

    They are presenting this as if this evidence was new. This EXACT type of Neanderthal tooth-scratch evidence was well-known in the 1970′s (it was even described in the Time-Life series on early peoples which came out in that decade)

    Looks like someone’s fishing for a grant again….

  73. DJ -  May 9, 2011 - 10:36 am

    Perhaps I am the one of the exceptions to the rule, but as a left-hander I have always done well in language classes, and to this day pick up on and can quickly learn to speak accents with ease.

  74. Mer -  May 9, 2011 - 10:29 am

    Left-handed: my brother, me, my Dad (actually, he was forced to be right-handed as a child,) and one of my daughters. We all have superior language and speaking skills. But then, so do most of the right-handed members of our family, though not all. If it’s largely inherited, then our brains are using whichever hemisphere is necessary to compensate. However, communication is a highly prized skill in our family, so that has to be factored in.

  75. Anonymous Great Laker -  May 9, 2011 - 10:10 am

    In the interest of further enlightenment and higher education, can you please cite the sources for the research? Thanks!

  76. julia -  May 9, 2011 - 10:02 am

    I find this article to be quite fascinating!

  77. Carlitos -  May 9, 2011 - 9:52 am

    I thought we were made to be right handed because God wanted it that way. M<any catholics have been taught that left-handedness is an abomination. You know, like He made some people homosexual, etc. Or is that a choice? I'm confused- so many mixed messages from the religious conservatives!

    I'm wondering who will first take offense at man being labeled a "modern primate!" by this article.


  78. alumni dauphine -  May 9, 2011 - 9:48 am

    This article is very informative on the understanding of Neanderthal man

  79. Bonnie -  May 9, 2011 - 9:25 am

    Destroying books is a sin.

  80. Bonnie -  May 9, 2011 - 9:25 am

    Books are meant for reading not destruction.

  81. Leah -  May 9, 2011 - 9:19 am

    What kind of jerk would treat a book like that. Books should be taken careb of.

  82. Muzi -  May 9, 2011 - 8:56 am

    This is very hard to understand. can it be writen in sumple english please!

  83. Linda -  May 9, 2011 - 6:19 am

    Lefties, by necessity are more creative.


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