orangutan
Picture for representation Reuters

Don't disregard orangutans by thinking they are just trouble-causing monkeys because sometimes they prove themselves to be smarter than you. A recent study has claimed that these primates may know more medical knick-knacks than humans.

A video shows these tree climbers chewing plants into lather and then applying the paste on their aching limbs. This is the first time researchers observed the external application of an anti-inflammatory agent in animals.

The apes in Sabangau Forest in Indonesia were spotted putting leaves in their mouth and instead of swallowing them, they grind those leaves with teeth into a paste and rub it onto their upper arms or legs for 15 to 45 minutes.

Researchers also carried out tests on the plant and found it to be Dracaena cantleyi - a succulent shrub used to treat aches and pains by local people.

Dr. Helen Morrogh-Bernard of the University of Exeter who is co-director of Borneo Nature Foundation and lead author of the Scientific Reports paper said that this is very exciting as it is the first time animals are seen applying any type of anti-inflammatory agent.

The research team added, "This new finding highlights the importance of tropical forests for medicinal plants, but more research into the practical uses of plants is needed...It also opens up the question as to what other plants orangutans may use for medicinal purposes, a topic we know very little about," according to Daily Mail.

Though monkeys, chimps and other primates have been seen in-taking the bitter juices of plants to do away with parasite infections, this is the first time they are seen making their own ointment since the time experts started studying them.