Heart is the most important organ of all vertebrate creatures, which provides the movement of blood in different parts of the body. It is almost entirely composed of soft tissue and, it would seem that there are no bones. Recently, however, researchers from Nottingham University (England) found that in the heart of some of the older chimp with a slight bone. At the moment, the precise function of this bone is unknown, but scientists have two assumptions. Perhaps it is a symptom of cardiovascular disease that shortens the life of monkeys. But there is also the possibility that this bone, on the contrary, trying to save primates from death — it can help the heart to contract normally. But which of the versions is closer to the truth?
The similarity of human and APE
Unexpected discovery was described in a scientific journal Scientific Reports. Chimpanzees are considered our closest relatives and their heart a lot like ours. Therefore, with age, they also experience various cardiovascular diseases, which are often the cause of death. But in the world of people with heart problems are the leading causes of death from cancer humanity is dying slowly.
One of the most common among the elderly chimpanzee disease is called fibrosis of the myocardium. This disease occurs when the heart produces a lot of fibrous connective tissue, which has high strength and is needed to support the organs. It is believed that the growth of this tissue is a natural reaction — he’s trying to isolate the sore spot from healthy tissue. Its accumulation in the heart can cause abnormal heart rate and, ultimately, to death.
According to the observations of scientists, myocardial fibrosis and similar diseases affect 70% of chimpanzees living in captivity. In this regard, they decided to study the state of the hearts of elderly monkeys with the help of computer tomography. This technology allows you to see the internal organs without surgical intervention. In total, the researchers studied the hearts of 16 chimpanzees, some of whom recently turned 59 years old. For these monkeys is almost record life expectancy, because the average chimpanzee live for about 39 years.
The new bone animals
Among all the surveyed monkeys from the above-mentioned myocardial fibrosis suffered only three individuals. But they, and several relatively healthy, but older chimpanzees, researchers have found an unusual seal in the heart. It was formed in a place where some animals are so-called “heart bone” (os cordis). For example, it is of a cow is considered that the dense part of the heart increases its endurance. And it is very important for cows, because every day they need to pump through the udder about 10 thousand liters of blood, this is a great work for their hearts.
According to one of the study’s authors Kathryn Rutland (Rutland Catrin), the discovery of new bones in animals is very rare. Because the structure of organisms chimpanzees and humans is very similar, they are interested in — whether discovered the bone time to appear in a person’s heart? And scientists are not clear what role she is playing: perhaps it is a sign of a serious problem, but it is likely that it has a useful function.
The extinction of animals
In any case, the new discovery could help scientists better understand the structure of the body of a chimpanzee and to develop new treatments for their disease. The fact that these monkeys are on the verge of extinction and included in Red book. According to the organization for the protection of animals Rea, one born chimpanzees have 10 dead. But the old individuals are dying due to the aforementioned myocardial fibrosis and other diseases. It is projected that by the year 2054, all chimpanzees on the planet can completely die out.
Therefore, the researchers intend to continue academic work and to reveal the true function of the enigmatic bones. If it is a symptom of the disease, scientists can try to eliminate its development and thus to save the monkeys life. If the bone, like the os cordis in cows, increases the endurance of their hearts, researchers can try to increase his favor.