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An orangutan watched a facial wound heal with medicinal plants for the first time

An orangutan watched a facial wound heal with medicinal plants for the first time

The Sumatran orangutan has been seen using a medicinal plant To heal a facial wound at an Indonesian research site in a first step for non-humans.

The male applied a paste made from the poultice plant to his cheek, which eventually closed the large wound, according to research published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports Journal. A month later, he made a full recovery in what the paper’s authors said was the first documented case of an animal healing itself with a plant.

In June 2022, researchers observed a monkey named Rakos with a facial wound at the Sawak Palembing research site in Gunung Leuser National Park. Three days later, they saw him chewing liana leaves that he had torn off, then repeatedly applying the resulting juice to his injury for seven minutes, covering it completely. Then continue feeding the plant for another 30 minutes.

The scientists concluded that Rakos knew the procedure would heal him because orangutans rarely eat poultices, due to the plant’s precise placement on the wound and the amount of time it took.

“They are our closest relatives and this once again points to the similarities we share with them. We are more alike than we are different,” said biologist and lead author Isabella Loomer. BBC. “I think in the next few years we will discover more behaviors and abilities that are very similar to humans.”

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Rakos was injured while fighting another orangutan

The researchers said they had never observed anything like this in 21 years of observing the creatures. But they acknowledged that this may be due to the fact that they rarely encounter injured orangutans at a market.

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Researchers believe Rakos suffered a facial injury during physical altercations with other males.

Having undergone secondary sexual development around this time, he attempted to establish himself as the dominant male orangutan in the area, according to behavioral data collected.

Liana plant is used to treat diabetes and malaria

The official name of the evergreen plant is Fibraurea tinctoria, and it is also referred to as Akar Kuning, Akar Palo, and Yellow Root. The plant extends from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and other parts of Southeast Asia.

According to the report, related vine species, which are often found in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, are used in traditional medicine to treat diseases such as dysentery, diabetes and malaria. All parts of the plant are used in its medicinal applications, from the leaves and stems to the roots and bark.

This example represents the first documentation of a wild animal using bioactive materials to treat an active wound, providing “new insights into the origins of human wound care,” the authors said.