Observations of bonobos in the Congo basin foraging in swamps for aquatic herbs rich in iodine, a critical nutrient for brain development and higher cognitive abilities, may explain how the nutritional needs of prehistoric humans in the region were met. This is the first report of iodine consumption by a non-human primate BMC Zoology .
Dr. Gottfried Hohmann, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, is the lead author of the study said: "Bonobos as a species can be expected to have a similarity in their understanding of the immigration of prehistoric human populations into the Congo basin." The researchers made behavioral observations of two bonobo.
The scientists made behavioral observations of two bonobo communities in the LuiKotale forest at Salonga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo. These observations were combined with data on the iodine content of plants by bonobos from an ongoing study by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin. In the Congo basin, they are a surprisingly rich natural source of iodine in the Congo basin.
Dr. Hohmann said: "Evolutionary scenarios suggest that major developments of human evolution are associated with living in coastal areas, which suggest that they may cause brain damage in hominins contributed to satisfying the iodine requirements of hominin populations used to diets. "
He added:" Our report answers the question of how to obtain iodine from natural food sources deficient.
The authors caution that without data on the iodine status of wild bonobos, it is difficult to tell how much iodine they absorb, although given the high concentrations in the herbs, it is likely to be substantial. The authors thus stressed that the field of LuiKotale may not be the entire Congo Basin.
Keeping nuclear power safe
Fishing for iodine: what aquatic foraging by bonobos tells about human evolution, Hohmann et al. BMC Zoology 201
Bonobo diet of aquatic greens may hold clues to human evolution (2019, July 1)
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