In the hearts of chimpanzees discovered the bones

Chimpanzees first discovered a heart dice a length of several millimeters. Researchers have described for the three species, captive and suffering from fibrosis of the myocardium. As noted by the authors in Scientific Reports, perhaps the disease has led to the emergence of unusual tumors. However, we cannot exclude that cardiac bone are part of the normal anatomy of the chimpanzee, as in bovids mammals and otters.

Although keeping great apes in zoos and nurseries often criticized for unethical behavior, many experts consider it an important component of species protection. However, even they recognize that to ensure that gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans have all the conditions for long life and regular breeding is very difficult. Often living in captivity apes suffer from serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease. For example, a heart problem was diagnosed in 77 percent of adult chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) who died in American zoos since 1990 to 2003.

Unfortunately, cardiovascular disease apes remain poorly understood, and hence the means to combat them are limited. In search of new information on this topic, a team of researchers, headed by Kathryn Rutland (Rutland Catrin Sian) at the University of Nottingham decided to examine the heart of a chimpanzee using x-ray computed microtomography.

The researchers compared the structure deformalizing hearts 16 chimps from European zoos, which died of natural causes. Most of them suffered from idiopathic fibrosis of the myocardium — most common cardiovascular disease is the chimpanzee, which leads to arrhythmias and cardiac arrest.

The analysis revealed seven hearts areas of high density. Having studied them more closely, the researchers came to the conclusion that three of them are tiny bones with a length of several millimeters, and the fourth consists of hyaline cartilage. Two bones were spongy, and the third is not. In the tissues around these structures was an increased concentration of collagen.

Heart bone (os cordis) — anatomical trait characteristic of mammals bovids (Bovidae). They also described for members of the family of camelids (Camelidae) and river otters (Lutra lutra). Heart cartilage (сartilago cordis) occur more frequently: they have some carnivorous mammals, equids, pigs, rodents and snakes. However, chimpanzees are no bones, no cartilage in your heart has ever been found.

The role of such tumors remains a matter for debate. It is assumed that at least bovids, otters and rodents in the bone and cartilage structure in the heart necessary for its proper operation. However, domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris), cats (Felis silvestris catus) and some other species show a link between such neoplasms and heart disease.

Researchers are inclined to conclude that chimpanzees are of unusual structure in the heart are due to the increased load on it as a result of illness. All the individuals who had discovered the bones and cartilage, suffered from myocardial fibrosis, and more severe than their relatives. However, it is impossible to exclude the possibility that ossification of the heart can be part of the normal anatomy of the chimpanzee.

Chimps are closest relatives of man, so the new data about their anatomy and are important to us. For people bone in the heart is unknown, and the cartilage was observed only twice, in the hearts of sudden deaths of infants. However, they may meet more often.

Recently, scientists have foundthat with age in chimpanzees increases the level of stress hormone cortisol and altered diurnal changes of allocation of this substance. The same process is typical for aging people. Most likely, it is connected with the aging process, not a way of life.

Sergey Knee High

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