Positions, Please!

horseHuman and great ape mums have long been known to have a ‘left bias’ when cradling their babies.

Holding infants to our left side, we have left-eye to left-eye contact, enabling our brains to process the baby’s needs in the right half of our brain associated with reading faces and problem solving. New research shows that ‘follower type’ species such as wild horses, orcas, walruses and kangaroos use a similar positional bias. Normally, the young of these animals will stick to mum’s right side, watching her with their left eye. Researchers observed animal mothers moving to the right of their young at times of stress, however, to monitor them with their left eye and be ready to lead them away from the threat.

This is counter to the expectation that the mother would put herself between her young and danger.