An orangutan used a medicinal plant to heal his wound, according to scientists

Washington An orangutan appeared to treat a wound with medicine from a tropical plant, in the latest example of how some animals They try to heal their own ailments with remedies found in naturescientists reported Thursday.

Scientists watched as the adult male orangutan plucked and chewed a medicinal plant used by people across Southeast Asia to treat pain and inflammation. The ape, named Rakus, then used his fingers to smear the wound on his right cheek with the plant's juice. He then pressed the chewed bush over the wound, as if it were a bandage.according to a study published in the specialized journal Scientific Reports.

Previous research has documented the practice of some ape species of searching for medicinal plants in the forest to treat wounds or ailments, but until now no scientist had seen an animal self-medicate in this way.

“This is the first time we have seen a wild animal applying a fairly powerful plant directly to a wound”said Isabelle Laumer, co-author of the study and biologist at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior in Konstanz, Germany.

The curious behavior of the orangutan was recorded in 2022 by Ulil Azhari, co-author of the study and field researcher of the Suaq Project in Medan, Indonesia. Photographs show that the wound healed within a month without any problems.

Scientists have been observing orangutans in Indonesia's Gunung Leuser National Park since 1994, but they have never seen such behavior before.

“It's just one observation.”said Jacobus de Roode, a biologist at Emory University who was not involved in the study. “But we often learn new behaviors from a single observation.”