Who keeps a cleaner bed - you or a chimp?

20 May 2018 - 11:00 By TimesLIVE
Image: 123rf/ radub85

Researchers studying chimpanzee nests have discovered that chimps actually maintain cleaner sleeping arrangements than humans do. 

According to a statement by Megan Thoemmes, lead author of a paper on the work and a Ph.D. student at North Carolina State University, human beds are noted for having their own biomes.

About 35% of the bacteria in our beds is from our bodies - and they include fecal, oral and skin bacteria.

Thoemmes' team expected something similar when they took swabs from 41 chimpanzee beds. They also used vacuums to try and catch any bugs that might have been in the nests. 

What they found was - the chimp beds had almost no microbes from fecal, oral or skin bacteria. They also only found four ectoparasites across all the chimp beds they looked at.

"And that's four individual specimens, not four different species," Thoemmes said.