Would Zola have been Interested?

As reported recently in Nature and other sources, Rakus, a Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) is the first wild animal to be documented using a medicinal plant to treat a wound.
But, according to Nature, Adrienne Mayor wasn’t surprised to hear the news. “As a historian of ancient science who investigates what Greeks and Romans knew about plants and animals, I was reminded of similar cases reported by Aristotle, Pliny the Elder, Aelian and other naturalists from antiquity,” she writes. It even has a name: zoopharmacognosy — ‘animal medicine knowledge’. A favourite: according to Pliny, deer ate wild artichokes as an antidote for toxic plants.  (the leaves relieve nausea and stomach cramps and protect the liver).

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