Navigation Links
Down to earth remedies for chimps
Date:1/9/2008

The deliberate ingestion of soil, or geophagy, has important health benefits for chimpanzees, according to Sabrina Krief and her colleagues from the Musum National dHistoire Naturelle in Paris, France. Far from being a dysfunctional behavior, geophagy has evolved as a practice for maintaining health amongst chimpanzees. In this particular study (1), to be published online this week in Springers journal Naturwissenschaften, geophagy increases the potency of ingested plants with anti-malarial properties.

Although geophagy is widespread throughout the animal kingdom, in humans it is perceived as a curious behavior, even linked by some to mental health issues. The paper looks at the consequences of soil ingestion on the health status of chimpanzees in the Kibale National Park in Uganda. These chimpanzees have been observed to ingest soil shortly before or after consuming plant parts, such as the leaves of Trichilia rubescens, which have anti-malarial properties in the laboratory.

The research team collected fourteen samples of soil eaten by chimpanzees as well as T. rubescens leaves from young trees in the same area. They designed a digestion model to replicate the digestive process of mastication, gastric and intestinal digestion in the laboratory. The samples were then analyzed for bioactive properties. The soil and leaves were examined both individually and as a mixture.

Before being mixed with the soil, the digested leaves showed no significant anti-malarial activity. However, when the leaves and soil were digested together, the mixture had clear anti-malarial properties.

The researchers also compared the composition of the soil eaten by chimpanzees with the content of soil used by the local healer to treat diarrhea amongst his patients. All the soil samples were rich in the clay mineral kaolinite, the principal component of some anti-diarrheal medicines. Furthermore, samples used by chimps and humans had exactly the same external aspects, were collected in a similar place and show a comparable physical and chemical profile, indicating similar content.

On the basis of these observations, Krief commented, This overlapping use by humans and apes is interesting from both evolutionary and conservation perspectives - saving apes and their forests is also important for human health.

Krief and her colleagues discount mineral supplementation, stress-induced behavior and the search for anti-diarrheal effects of clay as the reasons behind the chimpanzees geophagy observed at the field site during this study period. They propose geophagys ability to enhance the pharmacological properties of plants as a novel argument to explain motivation for chimpanzees to ingest soil. They conclude that geophagy is a practice for maintaining health which may explain why it has persisted through evolution.


'/>"/>

Contact: Joan Robinson
joan.robinson@springer.com
49-622-148-78130
Springer
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Evolution tied to Earth movement
2. Planting carbon deep in the earth -- rather than the greenhouse
3. Liquid crystal phases of tiny DNA molecules point up new scenario for first life on Earth
4. Earth Observation essential for geohazard mitigation
5. Scientists warn that species extinction could reduce productivity of plants on Earth by half
6. How did chemical constituents essential to life arise on primitive Earth?
7. Biogeochemistry -- A window into the Earths ecological health
8. Scientists launch deep-sea scientific drilling program to study volatile earthquake zone
9. Good earth: Brown chemists show origin of soil-scented geosmin
10. Global Warming and the Habitability of Planet Earth, Sept. 26
11. Young chimps top adult humans in numerical memory
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/22/2016)... , December 22, 2016 SuperCom (NASDAQ: ... secure solutions for the e-Government, Public Safety, HealthCare, and Finance sectors ... SuperCom, has been selected to implement and deploy a community-based supportive ... Northern California , further expanding its presence in the ... This new ...
(Date:12/19/2016)... , 19 de diciembre de 2016  Mosaic Biomedicals SL anunció ... acelerado de MSC-1, un anticuerpo humanizado que se espera comenzar a ... con múltiples sitios previstos a lo largo de Europa y Norteamérica. ... MSC-1 es el ... de leucemia (LIF), una citoquina pleiotrópica que se sobreexpresa en ciertos ...
(Date:12/16/2016)... The global wearable medical device market, in terms of value, is ... billion in 2016, at a CAGR of 18.0% during the forecast ... Growth ... devices, launch of a growing number of smartphone-based healthcare apps compatible ... and increasing focus on physical fitness. Furthermore, growing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 19, 2017 , ... DaVita Clinical ... spectrum of drug and device development, and Prism Clinical Research , a ... today announced Verified Clinical Trials (VCT) has been selected by both ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... BETHESDA, Md. , Jan. 18, 2017  Northwest ... company developing DCVax® personalized immune therapies for operable and ... Marnix Bosch , Chief Technical Officer of NW Bio, ... Thursday, January 19, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel ... Dr. Bosch will chair the session entitled "New Therapeutic ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... -- BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) (NYSE: BDX ), ... a live webcast of its Annual Meeting of Shareholders on Tuesday, ... webcast can be accessed from the BD corporate website at ... 2017. ... BD BD is a global medical technology company that is ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... 2017 According to a new market research report "In ... Disease), & End User (Molecular Diagnostic Laboratories, Academic and Research Institutions) - Global ... 739.9 Million by 2021 from USD 557.1 Million in 2016, growing at a ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
Breaking Biology Technology: