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Visual lateralization in artiodactyls: A brief summary of research and new evidence on saiga antelope
Laterality  (IF1.816),  Pub Date : 2020-11-30, DOI: 10.1080/1357650x.2020.1852245
Babette Fourie, Ekaterina Berezina, Andrey Giljov, Karina Karenina

ABSTRACT

The visual system and lifestyle characteristics make the even-toed ungulates an excellent model for the studies of behavioural lateralization. Recent research has focused on these mammals providing evidence of lateralization in a wide range of behaviours. This provides an opportunity for the collation of the current theoretical assumptions and the existing empirical evidence for visual lateralization in artiodactyls. In the present study, we aim first to gain a fuller picture of hemispheric specializations in saiga antelopes by investigating the lateralization of vigilance and novel object inspection in the wild. Second, we summarized the results of the research into visual lateralization in even-toed ungulates and attempted to assess the applicability of two popular hypotheses about the division of hemispheric roles. The results on saigas show a significant preference for head turns to the right visual field during vigilance which was more robust in individuals in larger groups. When an unfamiliar artificial object was placed in their natural setting, saigas preferentially viewed it predominantly with the right eye. These results, together with the cumulative evidence in artiodactyls, do not follow either the approach—withdrawal or positivity—negativity dichotomous patterns widely used to explain the division of functions between the hemispheres.