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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Self - medicating animals and lessons they teach us.

The self-medicating animals and the lessons they teach us. Self-medicating animals opens up a new dimension of medicine in the wild ,leading to the question what can we learn from chimps and sheep and maybe even insects that practice medicine on themselves? Early accounts of animal self-medication came in the late 1980s from Michael Huffman, a primatologist at Kyoto University. His decades-long research on chimpanzees, which revealed that they use plant compounds to rid themselves of parasites, helped established self-medication as a fundamental animal behavior. “Any animal species alive today is alive in part because of its ability to adapt and to fight off diseases,” Huffman says. Self-medication does not require high intelligence, but was simply the reaction of animals to remove an ailing symptom that evolved into strategies to expel parasites. “Self-medication is a very basic behavior that’s important to the survival of so many species,” he says. The animal self-medication points to a treasure larger than mere fascination and by following the animals’ lead,its possible to tap into a medicine vault furnished by millions of years of natural selection. The world’s best bio-prospectors which are the animals themselves may very well show us new pharmaceuticals to improve the health of our livestock and ourselves. more