Lateralization of mother-infant interactions in a diverse range of mammal species

Nat Ecol Evol. 2017 Jan 9;1(2):30. doi: 10.1038/s41559-016-0030.


Left-cradling bias is a distinctive feature of maternal behaviour in humans and great apes, but its evolutionary origin remains unknown. In 11 species of marine and terrestrial mammal, we demonstrate consistent patterns of lateralization in mother-infant interactions, indicating right hemisphere dominance for social processing. In providing clear evidence that lateralized positioning is beneficial in mother-infant interactions, our results illustrate a significant impact of lateralization on individual fitness.