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There is growing evidence that some species of wild nonhuman primate, especially chimpanzees, take herbal and clay medicines to treat and prevent disease. Such a primate pharmacopoeia may be a missing link in our understanding of the relationship between primate foraging and ranging strategies and plant chemistry; not all plant secondary compounds may be deleterious to the consumer. Just as study of traditional herbal medicines has yielded powerful drugs, so primate medicines may hint at drugs useful in treating human disease.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Ecol Evol

Publication Date





297 - 299