Sunday, 14 August 2011

Are you a Leftie?

I have noted that there are several lefties amongst the more creative members of my family, but the other day my elder son mentioned that only 10% of the Caucasian population is left-handed.  Why should that be so when the skeleton is designed symetrically in most respects that involve two of anything? I brought this up while travelling in the car with my brother, his wife and 17-year old son.  My sister-in-law had just been relating a story of how she had once recognised the left hand of a long-lost school friend on a television programme.  She had duly e-mailed the BBC who had obligingly put her in touch with said friend, who was a left-handed artist. My sister-in-law, who is a classicist and Latin teacher, said that you had to be right-handed in order to be a foot soldier in the Roman army or you couldn't operate in tight formation with your shield and spear and my nephew, who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of most things put in that to be left-handed or on the 'sinister' (Latin) side, meant that you would be strongly suspected of witchcraft and therefore highly likely to lose your life in the Middle Ages. Hence the process (almost) of Natural Selection.  So there you are then. Another mystery solved - though does it explain why so many left-handed people are creative?


  1. Interesting post -- and so true. My brother is left-handed and he is one of the brightest, most creative people I know. I don't know whether this ever happened in South Africa, but in the U.S. during the 40's and 50's, left-handed children were "re-trained" in school to write with their right hands. I can't imagine that now.

  2. Yes, I think that was the case in the UK where I grew up. Luckily, they make lots of tools like scissors for left-handers now. I remember a cousin who had difficulty following a knitting pattern