Could the cure for cancer be hiding in the hairs of one of the most popular animals on the Internet?
A new study, published in the Public Library of Science, provides some evidence that fungi found growing in sloth hair could have cancer and bacteria fighting properties.
As a blog on the Public Library Of Science notes, researchers from universities in California, Arizona and Panama "found a broad range of in vitro activities of the fungi against bugs that cause malaria and Chagas disease, as well as against a specific type of human breast cancer cells."
The research also provides support for increased studies of the huge numbers of largely unexploited fungal species, according to Vice.
"Conservative estimates suggest that the total number of fungal species in existence exceeds 5 million, yet fewer than 100,000 fungal species have been described," the paper said.
The biodiversity found in sloth hair is largely due, the paper notes, to the incredible array of organisms found in bio-diverse environments like rain forests. So, maybe cutting those down is not such a great idea.