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Experts from the University of Nottingham have discovered that some chimpanzees have a bone in the heart . The exceptional findings, published in “Scientific Reports”, it could be vital to monitor the health and conservation of these primates in danger.

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Very few animal species have this bone, called the os cordis, so that it is particularly rare to find on an ape. Yes it appears in many cattle (cow, ox and buffalo), and is often quite large, even the butchers remove it a little so that the meat can be used for soups. Sheep, otters, dogs and camels also have it. Sometimes, the os cordis is present in the majority of animals of one species, but in other cases is associated with diseases of the heart.

In chimpanzees, however, the bone of the heart measured a few millimeters in size and is more likely to be present in specimens with idiopathic myocardial fibrosis , a type of heart disease common in these animals and also with human beings. This pathology has been associated with the emergence of cardiac arrhythmias and sudden death.

Rutland what it is For?

“The discovery of a new bone in a new species is a rare event, especially in chimpanzees that have anatomy so similar to humans. Raises the question of whether some people may also have an os cordis,” says Catrin Rutland, lead author of the study.

The surprising finding was possible thanks to several techniques, including a method of advanced imaging called positron microcomputarizada. This allowed scanning of the heart with increases much higher than the ct standard hospitals or veterinary clinics.

In this way, the researchers observed that the cartilage was present in addition to the bone, which gives an idea of the mechanisms through which began the growth of the bone. The scientists also showed that the bone of the heart appears in males and females of different ages.

Still it is not known why chimpanzees develop the os cordis. The bone could withstand the heart valves are essential to develop because of a heart disease or even alter the electrical system that controls the heart.

Be that as it may, “find ways to help the chimpanzees with heart disease is essential. To understand what is happening to their hearts helps us to control their health,” says Sophie Moittié, co-author of the research.