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Orangutan seen healing face wound with medicinal plant for first time

A Sumatran orangutan was observed using a medicinal plant to treat a facial wound at an Indonesian research site, in a first step for non-humanity.

The male primate applied a poultice paste to his cheek, ultimately closing the large wound, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports. A month later, he made a full recovery in what the journal’s authors believe was the first documented case of an animal healing itself with a plant.

In June 2022, researchers observed the monkey named Rakus who had suffered a facial injury at the Suaq Balimbing research site in Gunung Leuser National Park. Three days later, they saw him chewing vine leaves that he had torn off, then repeatedly applying the resulting juice to his wound for seven minutes, covering it completely. He then continued to feed on the plant for another 30 minutes.

The scientists concluded that Rakus knew the process would heal him because orangutans rarely eat poultices, due to the plant’s precise location on the wound and the time it takes.

“They are our closest relatives and this again shows the similarities we share with them. We are more similar than different,” biologist and lead author Isabella Laumer told the BBC. “I think in the coming years we will discover even more very human-like behaviors and capabilities.”

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Rakus was injured fighting other orangutans

A male Sumatran orangutan named Rakus on August 25, 2022, two months after self-treating a wound using a medicinal plant in the Suaq Balimbing research site, the facial wound under the right eye being barely visible.

The researchers said they had never observed anything like this in their 21 years of observing these creatures. However, they acknowledged that this could be because they rarely encounter injured orangutans in Suaq.

Rakus received a facial injury during physical altercations with other restrained males, researchers suspect.

News Source :
Gn world

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