The digit ratio, an indicator of brain laterality, is the ratio of the second and fourth digits on the left (L24) or right foot (R24). Much of the research on the digit ratio and brain laterality focuses on primates, rather than other species such as reptiles. We tested whether the digit ratio in the gecko Ptyodactylus guttatus
was associated with behaviors attributed to brain laterality. We examined risk-taking behavior (time spent under cover), foot preference (which foot was the first to start moving) and the side from which geckos bypassed an obstacle, in relation to the digit ratio. Geckos with longer fourth digits on their left hind foot (higher digit ratio) spent more time under cover. Geckos starting to move with their left leg were much more likely to bypass obstacles from the right side, and vice versa. This is the first evidence of laterality being associated with the digit ratio in reptiles. Comparisons among vertebrates are needed in order to decipher the evolutionary origin of the commonalities and peculiarities of brain asymmetry and disentangle the patterns and drivers of our evolutionary tree.
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