Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Zanzibar Monkeys Eat Charcoal To Counteract Toxins

Date:
September 1, 1997
Source:
University Of Wyoming
Summary:
Monkeys on the African island of Zanzibar have learned that ingesting charcoal will counteract the adverse affects of toxic substances in their diet, say Duke University and University of Wyoming scientists.

Monkeys on the African island of Zanzibar have learned that ingesting charcoal will counteract the adverse affects of toxic substances in their diet, say Duke University and University of Wyoming scientists.

UW Professor David Cooney, a chemical engineer with extensive research on the medical uses of activated charcoal, says he was asked to test samples collected in a study by Duke scientist Thomas Struhsaker, who observed the unusual habit of Zanzibar red colobus monkeys eating charcoal.

Struhsaker was familiar with Cooney's research and with his recent book, "Activated Charcoal in Medical Applications." He sent Cooney leaf samples of the monkey's main dietary source, Indian almond and mango leaves, which are potentially toxic. He also sent charcoal taken from burned trees and charcoal lying near kilns, where it was produced for cooking.

Cooney studied the adsorption ability of five charcoals from Zanzibar in hot water extracts steeped from the Indian almond and mango leaves. Adsorption is the ability of substances, in this case the toxins, to stick to the surface of a solid, such as charcoal.

"For comparison, we also evaluated three commercial powdered activated charcoals," he says. "As expected, these charcoals acted best, yet the African kiln charcoals adsorbed surprisingly well. The findings support the hypothesis that the monkeys eat charcoal to reduce the harmful compounds, which have the potential to be toxic or interfere with digestion."

Struhsaker says the young leaves of exotic trees, consumed by the monkeys living in gardens in this area of Zanzibar, are also high in protein and highly digestible.

"This may explain why the birth rates and population densities of the colobus living in the Indian almond and mango habitat adjacent to the Jozani Forest are significantly higher than those in the ground water forest," he says.

Cooney's book, "Activated Charcoal in Medical Applications," was published in 1995 as a comprehensive reference of research on medical uses of activated charcoal. His and other studies describe activated charcoal's effectiveness in treating overdoses and poisonings in humans and animals.

The collaborative work by Cooney and Struhsaker has been published in two papers appearing in the International Journal of Primatology.

A UW faculty member since 1981, Cooney is the author of more than 80 papers in refereed scientific journals. He served as head of the UW Department of Chemical Engineering from 1983-1990. His academic awards at UW include the Outstanding Graduate Teaching and Research Award and the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, both sponsored by Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honorary.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Wyoming. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Wyoming. "Zanzibar Monkeys Eat Charcoal To Counteract Toxins." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 September 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/09/970901072246.htm>.
University Of Wyoming. (1997, September 1). Zanzibar Monkeys Eat Charcoal To Counteract Toxins. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/09/970901072246.htm
University Of Wyoming. "Zanzibar Monkeys Eat Charcoal To Counteract Toxins." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/09/970901072246.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

AP (July 30, 2014) River otters were hitting the water slides to beat the summer heatwave on Wednesday at Ichikawa City's Zoological and Botanical Garden. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins