Left-handed people may be better equipped for close range mortal combat than those who rely on their right hands, according to researchers.

Charlotte Faurie and Michel Raymond of the University of Montpellier in France examined the number of left-handed people in unindustrialised cultures as well as the homicide levels within each culture.

They discovered a correlation between levels of violence and the proportion of the left-handed population – the more violent a culture, the higher the relative proportion of left-handers. The cause for this, the researchers suggest, is that left-handers are more likely to survive hand-to-hand combat.

The news could provide comfort for those who routinely struggle with right-handed scissors and can-openers, but some experts are unconvinced by the link.

Left-handed people are more prone to some health problems, suggesting the trait ought to disappear naturally over many generations through natural selection. But left-handers continue to make up a small proportion of the human population, hinting there could also be some evolutionary advantage to being left-handed.

And the ratio of left-handers to right-handers is higher in successful sportspeople than it is in the general population, suggesting there is definite advantage to favouring the left hand or foot in competitive games, such as tennis.

More here.