Why ants tend to turn left

Why ants tend to turn left

This photo provided by the City Of Costa Mesa shows an invasive Big-Headed ant. (AP Photo/Courtesy Of City Of Costa Mesa)

Roughly nine in 10 humans are right-handed, an example of “brain lateralization” that’s pretty common among vertebrates—and now apparently invertebrates. Researchers in the UK are finding that even ants—which are invertebrates, meaning they have exoskeletons—carry an innate directional bias, in their case almost always turning left when exploring new territory, reports Science Daily.

“The ants may be using their left eye to detect predators and their right to navigate,” says a researcher. “Also, their world is maze-like and consistently turning one way is a very good strategy to search and exit mazes.” And since everybody is turning the same way, he says there’s also “safety in numbers. Perhaps leaning left is more shrewd than sinister,” the researcher adds.

Either way, better understanding these tendencies in invertebrates could help shed light on the behavior in more complex creatures—even including humans, reports Phys.org. (Check out this ant’s secret weapon.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: When Exploring, Ants March to the Left, to the Left

More From Newser