João d'Oliveira Coelho | Feb 1, 2024 min read

Potential Ape Nutraceuticals—antidotes, cures, ecological associations

I am delighted to announce the release of our latest paper, a collaborative endeavor with Elodie Freymman and her captivating PhD project focused on self-medication among the chimpanzees of Budongo. This collaborative journey culminated in the creation of PANacea, an interactive web app I developed to visualize the novel findings derived from Elodie’s research. Crafting PANacea posed an exciting challenge, and witnessing its fruition has been incredibly rewarding.

Pushing Boundaries in Primate Studies

Our project breaks new ground in primate studies by unveiling non-random food combinations in chimpanzee diets. Through the application of association rules algorithm to detect relationships in complex datasets, we effectively pinpointed forest resources favored by individuals requiring enhanced health, laying the groundwork for future studies. This marks a paradigm shift in primate dietary exploration, promising insights and discoveries in the realm of self-medication and holistic dietary understanding.

Potential Medicinal Cocktails

The exploration prompted intriguing questions about whether chimpanzees, like humans, might be combining multiple medicines through synergistic chemical interactions between plants or dietary items. Our findings open doors to the possibility that these insights could benefit human medicine.

The PANacea webapp available at the osteomics platform

Access the Research

Dive into the details by exploring the paper or navigate PANacea to visualize the the potential medicinal networks uncovered during our study.

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Heartfelt appreciation to Elodie for spearheading the project, conducting field research, and authoring the manuscript. Gratitude extends to the entire team for their collaborative efforts on this remarkable piece.


Freymann E, d’Oliveira Coelho J, Muhumuza G, Hobaiter C, Huffman MA, Zuberbühler K, Carvalho S. 2024. Applying collocation and APRIORI analyses to chimpanzee diets: Methods for investigating nonrandom food combinations in primate self-medication. American Journal of Primatology. e23603 10.1002/ajp.23603