Australian researchers have discovered that kangaroos are in fact left-handed despite previous assumptions that "handedness" was a uniquely "human" characteristic.

The research team from the University of Tasmania (UTAS) discovered that kangaroos and other marsupials favor one forelimb more than the other but, unlike humans who generally favor the right hand, kangaroos prefer the left.

PhD student Janeane Ingram said she observed kangaroos over a period of two years and found that the vast majority of the animals favored their left forelimb.

"The eastern grey and red kangaroos showed a strong preference for left forelimb use for all the observed types of behavior," she said on Friday.

"Red-necked wallabies showed a population-level preference for left forelimb use for feeding from a bipedal position and self- grooming."

Ingram's research revealed that forelimb preference was more prevalent in animals that were bipedal, or stand upright, compared to quadrupedal species. She said there was a distinct and strengthened link between posture and handedness.

"Any study that proves true handedness in another bipedal species contributes to the study of brain asymmetry and mammalian evolution," she said.

Ingram hinted that her team's research has paved the way for further studies to identify handedness in other animals.

"Even in the scientific community true handedness was assumed to have evolved primarily in humans and primates, but as one of our reviewers pointed out, laterality is also obvious in how parrots hold their food or how your dog shakes hands. But these examples of lateralization have not been proven at the population level," she added.