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In Some Parts of the World Ant Heads Were Once Used as Stitches

Remember the gut wrenching scene from Apocalypto, where Jaguar Paw’s wife uses ants’ pincers as sutures on her young son? Turns out it was inspired by a real medical treatment used in part of Asia, Africa and South America.

According to survival expert Cody Lundin, who starred on the Discovery reality show Dual Survival, army ants – soldiers that guard the rest of the colony – are known for their whopper mandibles. “I know that in ancient China, they were used as sutures by a lot of native peoples,” he explained on the show. “Take it on both sides of your wound and it’s going to clamp down on your flesh, and when you pinch off the body, it will hold that wound shut. Once they bite on, they don’t let go. You can physically pull their body away from their head, and they will stay embedded in the flesh.”

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