The Royal Academy of Languages defines “intelligence” as the ability to understand, comprehend or solve problems. For thousands of years, man believed that he was the only creature with this gift, but science has shown that this is not so. There are intelligent animals that can use and make instruments, solve unknowns, and feel complex emotions.. Successive scientific experiments have explored the abilities of many animals. A recent study has shown that chimpanzees (pan troglodytes) use crushed insects to heal wounds.
Researchers from the Ozouga Chimpanzee Project in Germany and the University of Osnabrück studied a group of 45 chimpanzees for seven years in Loango National Park in Gabon and found these animals they help themselves with squashed insects to heal their wounds, and even more surprisingly, to heal their fellow’s wounds..
The authors highlight: self medicine (the process by which a host behaviorally suppresses or avoids the harmful effects of parasitism and other causes of disease) has already been observed in several species; eg bears, elephants or starlings. And, of course, in the great apes.
But so far, most studies of self-medication in non-human primates have been ingestion of plant parts or non-nutritive substances to fight or control intestinal parasites. And more recent research has also reported topical applications from leaves or other materials (including arthropods) to skin integuments.
For example, chimpanzees swallow or chew the leaves of plants with antiparasitic properties to destroy intestinal parasites. However, Loango’s first known report of topical application of a remedy.
The study, published in ‘Cell Current Biology’, says, “Until now, the application of insects or insect parts to the wound of an individual or a congener has never been reported.” Reports the earliest known observations of chimpanzees acting as healers: applying insects to their own wounds and those of their peers.
The first observation was made by Alessandra Mascaro, a project volunteer who filmed a female named ‘Suzee’ interacting with her calf and took something out of the air and placed it between her lips and applied it to an open wound. female foot. small. The scientists found that this behavior was replicated in other chimpanzees.
The researchers concluded that the objects they were holding from the air were flying insects. Next, the scientists devoted themselves to filming the injured chimpanzees from the group displaying this behavior. Y They are convinced that the applied insects have anti-inflammatory or antiseptic properties..
The authors of the study are now dealing with precisely this issue: identify insect species used by chimpanzees. This goal is quite challenging because chimpanzees grind insects in their mouths as part of their process, and it will be difficult to confirm which taxon they are.
But The chimpanzees studied not only treated their own wounds, they also applied the insects to the wounds of other individuals., sometimes unrelated and almost unrelated to the family, unlike what happens in the mother’s case with her child. According to the authors, this is a “pro-social behavior”; that is, for the benefit of other individuals in the group, something that has not been so obvious in chimpanzees until now.
And baboons recognize written words
The discovery came ten years after another, which surprised scientists as well:baboons (Papio sp.) recognizes written words.
Researchers from the University of Aix-Marseille (France) later showed that even though baboons lack language skills, they can master sign recognition, an essential element of reading. The results, published in the journal ‘Science’, showed something scientists already suspected. this ability is not unique to language and therefore to humans.. And it must have appeared before the evolution of the human species.
The key to this investigation was: To distinguish between meaningful and meaningless words, baboons did not use a holistic approach, but instead used information from individual letters.according to the study authors.
In a month and a half, primates learned to distinguish dozens of meaningful words from more than 7,000 meaningless words. One of the samples named ‘Dan’ recognized 300 words during the run.
Scientists came to the conclusion thatIn humans and baboons, the way we recognize words by letters ‘imitates’ the way we recognize an everyday object as the sum of its parts..
Later, similar studies were done with other primate species and were positive in all cases: great apes recognize written words. The ability to recognize certain letter combinations is known as ‘.magic processing‘ and is the first step in the process of learning to read.
Reference work: https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(21)01732-2