Researchers at the University of Osnabrück noticed that chimpanzees stuffed insects in their wounds. They think it’s a form of self-medication.
The use of plants or other inedible materials to combat disease is common in the animal world. It has previously been seen in insects, reptiles, birds, and mammals. For example, bonobos and chimpanzees swallow certain leaves that help fight parasites. But the use of other animals in open wonder has not been observed before. Until now.
The researchers studied the behavior of a group of about 45 chimpanzees in Luango National Park in Gabon, Africa. They looked, among other things, at social relationships and interactions, communication with other groups and the gathering and picking of food. The researchers regularly saw chimpanzees catching insects and then placing them in open wounds. It turns out that they do this not only with themselves, but also with other chimpanzees, even if they are not related, without this directly working in their favor.
They have not yet been able to investigate the exact effect of this procedure, but the insects may help prevent inflammation. Of course there can also be no direct benefits, but it’s just a habit in the chimpanzee community. As the next step in the research, they now want to examine the insects involved and which (possibly medicinal) properties of these animals