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Orangutan spotted making his own medicine

Orang-oetan met blad op zijn hoofd

An orangutan was seen making his own medicine to treat a wound on his face. Researchers think this might be the first time something like this has been documented.


  • primate is a classification of animals that includes humans, apes, and monkeys.
  • When you put M.D. behind someone’s name, it means they have a medical degree.
  • scrap is another word for a physical fight.
  • Climbing vine is a type of leafy plant that grows up trees (or buildings).
  • Saliva is a technical name for spit (the liquid that forms in your mouth).
  • Dysentery is a serious disease that causes extreme diarrhoea, which can be fatal.
  • When something has medicinal properties, it means it contains things that can help heal diseases or wounds. 


Watch the video from 0:00 to 02:05.

1. Researchers saw the organutan Rakus do something unique. What did they see Rakus do? 

A: Antiviral 

B: Anti-inflammatory

C: Immunosuppressing 

D: Antibacterial

E: Pain relief

F: Antifungal

G: Anti-carcinogenic 

H: Analgesic properties 

Watch from 02:05 till the end of the video.

3. Watch what presenter Linda Ward (in blue) says about what the scientists observed. This isn’t the first time that researchers witnessed an animal self-medicating. Name one of the examples Linda Ward mentions of animals self-medicating.

4. What was remarkable about how the orangutan used the medicinal plant?

A: It was a plant that humans use as well.

B: Primates usually rub leaves onto a wound, but the orangutan chewed it to mix the sap with his saliva.

C: The orangutan is usually seen using insects instead.

D: The orangutan seemed to use the plant intentionally, as if it realised the plant was medicinal.

5. Linda Ward says observing primates who self-medicate like this could help us understand something else. What could we learn from this?

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