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:4/13/2017)... SANTA MONICA, Calif. , April 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... New York will feature emerging and ... Innovation Summits. Both Innovation Summits will run alongside the ... variety of speaker sessions, panels and demonstrations focused on ... east coast,s largest advanced design and manufacturing event will ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... No two people are believed to ... York University Tandon School of Engineering and Michigan ... partial similarities between prints are common enough that ... and other electronic devices can be more vulnerable ... in the fact that fingerprint-based authentication systems feature ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017 Today ... announcing that the server component of the HYPR platform ... for providing the end-to-end security architecture that empowers biometric ... HYPR has already secured over 15 million users ... including manufacturers of connected home product suites and physical ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... Florida (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... Drug Administration (FDA) has granted orphan drug designation to SBT-100, its novel anti-STAT3 ... for the treatment of osteosarcoma. SBT-100 is able to cross the cell membrane ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... -- International research firm Parks Associates announced today that ... TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 in Scottsdale, Arizona ... market and how smart safety and security products impact the competitive landscape. ... Parks Associates: Smart Home Devices: Main Purchase ... "The residential security market has experienced continued growth, ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... ... The award-winning American Farmer television series will feature 3 Bar Biologics in an ... on RFD-TV. , With global population estimates nearing ten billion people by 2050, ... a growing nation. At the same time, many of our valuable resources are becoming ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... launched its ProxiMeta™ Hi-C metagenome deconvolution product, featuring the first commercially available ... bioinformatics software to perform Hi-C metagenome deconvolution using their own facilities, supplementing ...
Breaking Biology Technology: