Scientists: Orangutans treat wounds with medicinal plants Scientists: Orangutans treat wounds with medicinal plants

Scientists: Orangutans treat wounds with medicinal plants

Scientists: Orangutans treat wounds with medicinal plants

European and Indonesian naturalists have discovered the first evidence of orangutans treating their wounds with a plant "ointment", used in traditional medicine to fight inflammation and pain.

Isabella Lohmer, a researcher at the Institute for the Study of Animal Behavior (Germany), says: “While observing the orangutan, we noticed that a male named Rakos had suffered a wound in his face as a result of a fight with another monkey. Three days after that, Rakos began chewing the leaves of a Fibraurea plant.” tinctoria and then apply it to the wound to treat it. This plant is widely used in traditional medicine in Southeast Asia because of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Scientists made this discovery while observing the lives of orangutans living in Indonesia's Gunung Leser National Park in northern Sumatra Island, which has one of the remaining habitats for the endangered Sumatran orangutan, which ecologists and primatologists have been actively working to save for several decades.

While observing local monkeys, scientists discovered that orangutans use the leaves of a climbing plant of the type Fibraurea tinctoria, which grows in the forests of India, the Indochina Islands and other regions in Southeast Asia, as raw materials for the production of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. “Ointment”, although orangutans rarely eat the leaves and fruits of this plant, but after being injured, Rakos searched for it, chewed its leaves and treated the damaged facial tissue with the chewed biomass.

It became clear to scientists that this process accelerated the healing of Rakos' wounds and prevented the development of infections, as the wounds completely healed after a week, and their effects disappeared after two weeks.
But where did Rakus learn this skill? This is what natural scientists cannot yet determine. Because many Sumatran orangutans were brought to Gunung Lesser from different regions of Indochina.

“The first mention of such practices in human societies dates back to the third millennium BC,” says researcher Karolina Schopli from the Institute for Animal Behavior Studies. “The existence of the ability to treat wounds with various compounds not only among humans, but also among some higher primates indicates that it is "It is likely that our common ancestor had the ability to determine the healing properties of plants."


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