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Chimps are righties and orangutans lefties, plus singing mice and chilly dinosaurs in this week's news

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7:00pm, March 9, 2011
Apes show handedness
Contrary to earlier reports, apes show humanlike hand preferences when manipulating objects. Chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas favored the right hand and orangutans the left hand, a team led by psychologist William Hopkins of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Ga., found in a study to appear in the Journal of Human Evolution. Hopkins and colleagues observed which hand 777 captive apes used to reach peanut butter smeared inside a long tube. Roughly twice as many animals in each ape category employed a dominant hand, whereas about 90 percent of humans are right-handed. Hopkins wants to explore reasons for orangutans’ left-handedness. —Bruce Bower


Invasion of the dirty shoes
More than half the soil samples scraped off dirty shoes that inspectors spotted in luggage arriving in New Zealand airports carried potentially worrisome stowaways. The 155 soil sampl
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