Dolphin Skin Medicine

Dolphin Skin Medicine

Under the water surface of the Red Sea, some of the most productive and diverse coral reefs in the world are located. It turns out the coral may be also useful to dolphins.

Science reported that bottlenose dolphins in the Red Sea rub against antibacterial coral reefs and sponges – and scientists believe that this behavior is meant to prevent skin infections and diseases.

To view this behavior, watch here.

This behavior of self-medication is replicated time and time in nature among animals from chimpanzees to ants.

Since 2009, Angela Ziltener, a wildlife biologist with the University of Zürich and founder of Dolphin Watch Alliance, has become familiar with a population of 360 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in the Red Sea. She observed how younger dolphins mimicked the behavior of the adult dolphins that rubbed against only certain types of corals. Ziltener tested if the corals had medicinal properties with Gertrud Morlock, an analytical chemist at Justus Liebig University Giessen.

They found that 17 different chemicals found in the corals and sponges had antibacterial, antioxidative, or hormonal properties that could potentially treat skin conditions.

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