Usefulness Keeps Left-Handed Trait Alive: Study

By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2009 3:22 PM CST
Usefulness Keeps Left-Handed Trait Alive: Study
His left-handedness has helped Phil Mickelson become one of the most successful professional golfers ever, with his latest victory coming Sunday in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo)

Left-handedness seems to have avoided the fate of similarly rare genetic traits—that is, extinction—because it’s so useful, a study finds. For instance, left-handers in earlier times had the advantage of surprise in fights with right-handers, AFP reports; they often used both hands well, while righties were overly dependent on the favored hand.

The French study highlighted a variety of pros and cons for lefties, including:

  • A propensity to be more creative than average.
  • Having a higher IQ as a child.
  • Earning more money than right-handers.
  • Shorter lifespans than right-handers—perhaps because left-handers are more apt to have fatal accidents with heavy machinery built for righties.
  • Less reproductive success, due in part to having smaller bodies. Left-handers are also more likely to be homosexual, a group less likely to have children.
(More left-handedness stories.)

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