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World

AFP
February 15, 2018

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Ants nurse wounded warriors back to health

Ants nurse wounded warriors back to health

PARIS: African Matabele ants dress the wounds of comrades injured during hunting raids and nurse them back to health, according to an “astonishing” discovery reported Wednesday. After collecting their wounded from the battlefield and carrying them back home, nestmates become medics, massing around patients for “intense licking” of open wounds, according to a study in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. This behaviour reduces the fatality rate from about 80 percent of injured soldiers to a mere 10 percent, researchers observed. The study claimed to be the first to show such nursing behaviour in any non-human animal. “This is not conducted through self-medication, as is known in many animals, but rather through treatment by nestmates which, through intense licking of the wound, are likely able to prevent an infection,” said study co-author Erik Frank.

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