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Chimpanzees observed using insects to possibly treat wounds

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Posted at 10:51 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 11:24:26-05

A group of chimpanzees in the African country of Gabon may have found a way to treat wounds.

Researchers observed the chimps placing insects on their wounds 76 different times over a 15-month period.

"Given the unambiguous context in which the observed behavior occurred (injured individuals with open flesh wounds), we suggest that they may represent another case of medicative behavior in non-human animals," researchers said in the journal Current Biology.

This was reportedly the first time the primates had been observed exhibiting the behavior.

Researchers say the insects may have an antiseptic or anti-inflammatory effect on the wounds.

The research group believes the chimps may be engaging in "prosocial behavior." The term refers to actions that are intended to benefit others.

However, the researchers say the theory remains controversial because some believe chimpanzees lack prosocial behaviors while others "argue that their prosocial tendencies exhibit characteristics consistent with empathy."