Sick chimps eat special plants – level 3

28-06-2024 15:00

Scientists in Uganda have observed wild chimpanzees eating plants with pain-relieving and anti-bacterial properties to heal themselves. They believe this behavior could aid in the search for new medicines.

The lead researcher, Elodie Freymann from the University of Oxford, explained that her project aimed to expand knowledge of chimpanzee medicinal habits. Researchers tracked the health and diet of chimps, noting unusual feeding behaviors. They collected and analyzed plant samples that the chimps ate when sick or injured. The study found that 88% of these plants had strong anti-bacterial properties, and 33% had anti-inflammatory properties. This suggests that chimps choose specific plants to treat ailments such as bacterial infections, parasites, and injuries.

While this discovery was surprising, it aligns with the understanding that chimps are highly intelligent and capable of identifying necessary medicinal resources in their environment.

Difficult words: anti-inflammatory (preventing inflammation), ailment (illness or condition), parasite (an organism that lives in or on an organism of another species and benefits from it).

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What percentage of the plants that wild chimpanzees in Uganda eat when sick or injured have strong anti-bacterial properties, according to the study?


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