Orangutan treats wound with pain-relieving plant

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Researchers observe a wild orangutan applying a plant with known medicinal properties to a wound, a first for a wild animal

Facial wound of adult flanged male Rakus (photo taken two days before applying t
Facial wound of adult flanged male Rakus (photo taken two days before applying the plant mesh to the wound). Armas / Suaq

Even though there is evidence of certain self-medication behaviors in animals, so far it has never been known that animals treat their wounds with healing plants. Now, biologists from the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Germany and Universitas Nasional, Indonesia have observed this in a male Sumatran orangutan who sustained a facial wound. He ate and repeatedly applied sap from a climbing plant with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties commonly used in traditional medicine. He also covered the entire wound with the green plant mesh. ...

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