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Bonobo diet of water greens might hold clues to human evolution –

By Blair Morris

November 16, 2019

Bonobo diet of aquatic greens may hold clues to human evolution
Credit: Zana Clay, LuiKotale Bonobo Project.


Observations of bonobos in the Congo basin foraging in swamps for marine herbs rich in iodine, an important nutrient for brain advancement and greater cognitive capabilities, may discuss how the nutritional needs of prehistoric humans in the area were fulfilled. This is the first report of iodine usage by a nonhuman primate and it is published outdoors access journal BMC Zoology

Dr. Gottfried Hohmann, from limit Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the lead author of the study said: “Our outcomes have ramifications for our understanding of the immigration of prehistoric human populations into the Congo basin. Bonobos as a types can be anticipated to have similar requirements to human beings, so our study provides– for the very first time– a possible response on how pre-industrial human migrants might have survived in the Congo basin without artificial supplements of iodine.”

The researchers made behavioural observations of two neighborhoods in the LuiKotale forest in Salonga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo. These observations were combined with data on the iodine material of plants consumed by bonobos from an ongoing study by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin. They found that the aquatic herbs taken in by bonobos are a remarkably rich natural source of iodine in the Congo basin, a region that was formerly believed to be scarce in iodine sources.

Dr. Hohmann stated: “Evolutionary scenarios recommend that major developments of human development are related to living in , which provide a diet plan that triggered in hominins. The outcomes of our research study recommend that usage of water herbs from swamps in forest environment might have added to pleasing the iodine requirements of hominin populations utilized to diet plans widespread in seaside environments.”

He included: “Our report possibly addresses the concern of how apes obtain iodine from natural food sources, when lots of populations populate areas considered to be iodine deficient. Other apes such as chimpanzees and gorillas have likewise been observed eating marine herbs, which recommends that they could be obtaining vital iodine from these sources.”

The authors caution that without information on the iodine status of wild bonobos, it is challenging to inform how much iodine they absorb, although provided the high concentrations in the herbs, it is likely to be significant. The authors also worry that the iodine concentrations gotten at the field website of LuiKotale might not be reflective of the whole Congo basin.

More info:
Fishing for iodine: what marine foraging by bonobos informs us about human evolution, Hohmann et al. BMC Zoology2019, DOI: 10.1186/ s40850-019-0043- z

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