Nature & Environment
Aging bonobos need reading glasses to groom
By T.K. Randall
November 8, 2016 · 4 comments
Age-related eye deterioration is not unique to humans. Image Credit: CC BY 3.0 Fanny Schertzer
Scientists studying bonobos reveal that it is not only humans who suffer from diminishing eyesight.
The discovery suggests that long and short-sightedness, far from being a symptom of staring at books and computer screens too long, may actually be a throwback to a common ancestor of humans and apes and something that affects other primates as much as it does humans.
The findings were based on the discovery of five cases of age-related long-sightedness within a bonobo colony in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and demonstrate for the first time that bonobos and humans develop eyesight problems as they age at exactly the same rate.
"I didn't expect age to be such a strong predictor of long-sightedness," said lead researcher Heung Jin Ryu. "Young ones under 30 years old usually focus at 10 centimetres or less when they groom."
"But when they get to their 40s, it doubles to 20 cm, then continues, increasing rapidly. At 45 years old, an individual had a grooming distance of more than 40 cm."
The research suggests that deteriorating eyesight in humans, like apes, may be unavoidable.
"The age-related decrease might be universal in mammals," said Ryu. "But I don't think many mammal species will suffer from it because they probably die once their eyes start to malfunction."
Source: New Scientist
| Comments (4)
Please Login or Register to post a comment.