Feathered herbalist. World’s heaviest flying bird heals itself

Study shows bustards use plants as medicine.

It is common for people to take medicine when we are not feeling well. However, new research suggests bustards may be the last birds in the world to use plants as medicine, writes CNN.

In a new study, scientists from Madrid, Spain, examined more than 600 droppings from the world’s heaviest flying birds and found that two types of plants were more common in them than any other food. However, the most curious thing was that these plants were quite effective in fighting parasites.

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According to Luis Bautista-Sopelan, a scientist at the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid and lead author of the study, he and his colleagues found that great bustards consume poppy (Papaver rhoeas) and psyllium berry (Echium plantagineum) in their study. abundance. Curiously, our ancestors used poppy as a sedative and pain reliever, but psyllium rot can be toxic when consumed.

The scientists analyzed the extracts of plants so fond of bustards and found that both had antiparasitic properties – laboratory tests showed them to be very effective at fighting at least three of the most common parasites in birds: the protozoan Trichomonas gallinae, the nematode Meloidogyne javanica, and the fungus Aspergillus. niger

It is interesting that these plants are actively consumed by birds, especially during the mating season. Scientists suggest that birds self-medicate with plants during this period to counteract the effects of parasites.

Note that during the mating season, naive males gather at selected locations to put on a real “show” for the migrating females, and the females then choose a mate for themselves.

According to study co-author Azucena González-Coloma of the Institute of Agricultural Sciences in Madrid, male and female bustards may benefit from seeking medicinal plants during mating season. However, men who use herbs with anti-parasitic properties may appear healthier, more energetic and overall more attractive to women.

According to Paul Rose, a zoologist at the University of Exeter, scientists tend to associate self-healing with species like primates, but a new study shows that the world’s heaviest flying birds may be the last to actively use the medicinal properties of plants. .

Previously Focus He wrote that there was a squid on the Japanese island of Okinawa that could make bait from its own skin.

Source: Focus

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