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Using Coral as Medicine

Back in 2009, bottlenose dolphins were first spotted rubbing their bodies against coral in the Red Sea. The act perplexed marine biologist Angela Ziltener, who spent the next 13 years uncovering the reason behind it. Ziltener’s study on over 360 dolphins was recently published, concluding that dolphins use certain kinds of coral as a medicine chest. The incredibly intelligent dolphins realized that bioactive compounds on the coral help protect their skin, which is why they can be seen rubbing against it. The act is similar to how humans use body lotion. It’s possible that the dolphins also utilize the coral’s healing powers when they have a skin irritation or infection. To understand the dolphin community, Zultener spent years scuba diving with the group of dolphins to earn their trust and studied samples of the coral that dolphins were drawn to.

Image via CNN / ISCIENCE

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