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Humans are Filthier than Chimpanzees

Posted May 26, 2018 12:00 AM by M-ReeD
Pathfinder Tags: animals bacteria

And nowhere is that more evident than in where they sleep, according to new research.

Publishing their findings in the journal Royal Society Open Science, researchers took swab samples from a chimpanzee nest and compared them with swabs taken from a human’s bed.

In both settings, researchers found traces of sweat, saliva, feces and skin. However, the team found significantly more of those “impurities” in the human bed (35 percent) than the chimpanzee nest (3.5 percent).

“We know that human homes are effectively their own ecosystems, and human beds often contain a subset of the taxa—or types—of organisms found in the home. For example, about 35 percent of bacteria in human beds stem from our own bodies, including fecal, oral and skin bacteria” said Megan Thoemmes, lead author and Ph.D. student at North Carolina State University.

Researchers conclude that the reason for such a disparity in cleanliness has to do with chimpanzees sleeping in a new bed nearly every night while humans are apt to keep the same bed for decades, shedding these “impurities” night after night.

“We have created sleeping places in which our exposure to soil and other environmental microbes has all but disappeared, and we are instead surrounded by less diverse microbes that are primarily sourced from our own bodies,” the authors wrote in the study.

This finding is less likely to surprise you if you’ve ever lived in a communal setting (let’s say a dorm). That was where I discovered that people have varying definitions of hygiene and that people will do just about anything on a bed when space is limited (i.e., eating, studying, using it as a napkin after eating, or as seating when entertaining hordes of strangers).

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#1

Re: Humans are Filthier than Chimpanzees

05/26/2018 10:16 AM

Naked and Afraid......

....but cleaner than you...?

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#2

Re: Humans are Filthier than Chimpanzees

05/27/2018 12:47 AM

Wasn't it Dr. Zaius who asked Taylor where his nest was ?

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#3

Re: Humans are Filthier than Chimpanzees

05/27/2018 1:18 AM

Surely it depend on how often the bed sheets are washed.....must have been a student bed tested.

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Humans are Filthier than Chimpanzees

05/27/2018 1:36 PM

I once shared an apartment in college with 2 other guys and one of them put new sheets on his bed on the first day of the semester and threw them out on the last day. 16 weeks on the same sheets. Thank God we had our own rooms. This guy never got any ladies. It would be interesting to see what grew on those sheets.

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#4

Re: Humans are Filthier than Chimpanzees

05/27/2018 1:21 PM

Thank you for this information. I would have never believed that engineers are less hygienic than chimps.

/Lurking bacteria

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#6

Re: Humans are Filthier than Chimpanzees

05/28/2018 11:43 AM

Humans are Filthier than Chimpanzees

Actually, the article states that human beds are dirtier than chimpanzee beds. Chimpanzees change their bed every night, and it's likely that it takes longer than one night for their beds to reach an equilibrium state with the occupants.

It seems there might be ample material here for an Ignobel prize...

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Re: Humans are Filthier than Chimpanzees

05/28/2018 5:00 PM

Honey couldn't we just wash the sheets?

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Re: Humans are Filthier than Chimpanzees

05/29/2018 4:16 PM

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