US News Who Has the 'Cleaner' Bed: Chimps or Humans?

06:35  16 may  2018
06:35  16 may  2018 Source:   nationalgeographic.com

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Evolution proponents who insist that the chromosome 2 fusion event proves that humans and chimpanzees shared a common ancestor are employing a logical fallacy known Individuals within a population are variable and some chimps will have more or fewer nucleotide differences with humans .

Chimpanzee beds are cleaner than those of humans because, unlike us, the animals change their Compared with human beds , the chimp nests had a much greater variety of bugs. a subset of the taxa - or types - of organisms found in the home,” said Megan Thoemmes, who led the research in

File: Cindy the chimpanzee who is a member of the new integrated 'super group' of chimpanzees at Edinburgh Zoo. © Getty File: Cindy the chimpanzee who is a member of the new integrated 'super group' of chimpanzees at Edinburgh Zoo.

“Take your stinking paws off me, you damn, dirty ape!”

Charlton Heston's line in the 1968 classic Planet of the Apes epitomizes the way most of us view our closest mammalian relatives.

Stinking. Dirty.

But a new study published today in the journal Royal Society Open Science may lead us to question that reputation.

a bird perched on a tree branch: A chimpanzee relaxes in its nest in Nigeria's Cross River State. © Photograph by Cyril Ruoso, Minden Pictures/National Geographic Creative A chimpanzee relaxes in its nest in Nigeria's Cross River State.

By swabbing abandoned chimpanzee nests in Tanzania's Issa Valley, scientists learned that just 3.5 percent of the bacteria species present came from the chimps’ own skin, saliva, or feces. In human beds sampled in a previous study in North Carolina, the number was a whopping 35 percent.

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It would also be King who , in 1975, first compare the genetic similarity of humans and chimpanzees . King compared the genes of chimps and humans . When she did, she was in for a surprise.

Chimpanzee . Evidence for Evolutionary Relationship? The idea that human beings and chimps have close to 100% similarity in their DNA seems to be common knowledge. The figures quoted vary: 97%, 98%, or even 99%, depending on just who is telling the story.

Parasites, such as ticks and fleas, were also scarce in chimp beds.

“We need to rethink what we think of as ‘clean’ within our environment,” says study leader Megan Thoemmes, a Ph.D. student at North Carolina State University. (Read: "Chimps Can't Cook, But Maybe They'd Like To.")

Welcome to the Jungle

Now, before you burn your linens and start building a bed out of leaves, there are a few things you need to know.

For starters, chimpanzees construct a new nest each night, and they also take pains to lean over the side of their nests when defecating. (Read how chimps make beds to be as comfortable as possible.)

So it makes at least a little sense that their sleeping spots would have lower concentrations of body-associated bacteria than the sheets we Americans spend a third of our lives in.

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However, even the scientists were surprised by the study’s findings.

“We expected to see a lot of ectoparasites and a lot of fecal bacteria, because there’s been a lot of evidence showing that fecal bacteria builds up in the fur of chimpanzees,” says Thoemmes.

File: Two chimpanzees are seen in a new enclosure at the Aurora zoo in Guatemala City © Getty File: Two chimpanzees are seen in a new enclosure at the Aurora zoo in Guatemala City

It’s important to note that the study only looked at the kinds of bacteria present, not the overall quantity of microbes, says Jonathan Eisen, an evolutionary microbiologist at the University of California, Davis, who was not part of the research.

“I guess it depends on how you define it, but to me, ‘dirtier’ means ‘more stuff,'” says Eisen.

Furthermore, "it’s gross and everything, but sitting in your own microbes is not generally the problem for health,” says Eisen: "It’s getting exposed to someone else’s microbes after they’ve gone through that individual.”

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Humans may not be as chimp -like as you think. There could be a much more peaceable ape relative who is closer to us. Their genetic codes have undergone fewer changes than those of chimps . This means that bonobos could be more closely related to humans than chimpanzees are - which might

In June, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced an end to funding for biomedical research on chimps and that it would safely retire most of its lab-held chimps . Life is precious and they have a right to enjoy freedom and happiness as well as humans , who can make decisions.

“So, health-wise, the grossest part would be sleeping in beds that lots of other people have slept in.”

Healthy Bacteria

For nearly a decade, Eisen has been working on a project called microBEnet, or the Microbiology of the Built Environment program, an attempt to better understand how the transition from living outside to inside has affected humans and our interactions with the microbes around us.

For instance, other studies have found links between the development of autoimmune disorders and allergies in humans with a decline in exposure to soil bacteria, says study leader Thoemmes. (Read why men's offices have more bacteria.)

"Losing those associations has negative consequences to our health and well-being,” she says.

File: , Foxie, a chimp who lives at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest near Cle Elum, Wash. © AP File: , Foxie, a chimp who lives at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest near Cle Elum, Wash.

Earlier studies have sampled bacteria from human-built environments where animals live, such as cat shelters, aquaria, and zoos. But until now, no one has ever compared an environment built by a human—our beds—with an environment built by a wild animal—the chimpanzee nests.

While the new study doesn’t provide all the data he would like, such as swabs of the chimpanzees that actually used the nests, Eisen called the work “incredibly novel.”

“They are trying to de-convolute what we see in the human built environment,” he says.

“It’s so cool.”

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