Today brings the news of two discoveries in the world of all things moving:
First is the discovery of primatologists from the University of Cambridge that oragutans self-medicate by chewing up leaves of various herbs and plants and then use the resulting paste to treat aches and pains. I’d never heard of such behavior and frankly am stunned by the exent of means-end rationality and long-term planning ability that this behavior clearly implies. But apparently the furry jungle inhabitants aren’t the only ones to do such things:
Chimpanzees and gorillas are thought to self medicate, mainly by swallowing rough leaves or chewed plant pith to help flush out intestinal parasites. A few monkey species and one species of lemur are known to rub concoctions, such as tobacco, onion or garlic onto their fur to repel insects or parasites.
Weird that the female lemurs (lemurettes?) haven’t complained about the garlic and onion smell yet…
Second, there is the pen-tailed tree shrew, native to the rainforests of Malaysia, for whom the fermented nectar of palm trees is a regular dietary component, they spend about 2 hours each night looking for this stuff. And here’s the cool part: despite the chronic alcoholism, the shrew (or rather its evolutionary heritage) has figured out how to do this without ever getting a hang-over. So, in my next life I’d like to be a pen-tailed tree shrew. Pretty please, God!?