Human beings had one less reason to fancy themselves as being a singular species after the BBC published a short video this week of a Sumatran orangutan successfully self-medicating with an ointment he had made himself using 100% organic ingredients [and he managed to do it without needing to watch any videos on YouTube]. Reporting on this remarkable recording in Indonesia, the Georgina Rannard wrote: “A Sumatran orangutan in Indonesia has self-medicated using a paste made from plants to heal a large wound on his cheek, say scientists.

It is the first time a creature in the wild has been recorded treating an injury with a medicinal plant.

After researchers saw Rakus applying the plant poultice to his face, the wound closed up and healed in a month.

Scientists say the behaviour could come from a common ancestor shared by humans and great apes.

“They are our closest relatives and this again points towards the similarities we share with them. We are more similar than we are different,” said biologist Dr Isabella Laumer at the Max Planck institute in Germany and lead author of the research.

A research team in the Gunung Leuser National Park, Indonesia spotted Rakus with a large wound on his cheek in June 2022.

They believe he was injured fighting with rival male orangutans because he made loud cries called “long calls” in the days before they saw the wound.

The team then saw Rakus chewing the stem and leaves of plant called Akar Kuning – an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial plant that is also used locally to treat malaria and diabetes.”

If you watch the short video associated with this BBC article you will feel that comparing Rakus, the orangutan, to human beings flatters human beings because no man with as big a gash on his cheek as Rakus had will be able to manufacture his own ointment singlehandedly with the effortless insouciance shown by Rakus. Not since Anil Kumble batted against the West Indies with his bloodied head wrapped in a bandage have we seen such an uninhibited display of intelligent courage.

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