Scientists have made a bizarre discovery. It seems that our beds are dirtier than the chimpanzee nests. So, the idea that chimps are dirty should be buried… under our mattress!
A study shows that chimps have clean beds and fewer bacteria on their body, unlike us. Ms. Thoemmes is a Ph.D. student at North Carolina State University, and together with her team, they compared swabs taken from chimp nests to those from human beds.
35% of Bacteria on Our Sheets is From Our Skin, Saliva and Fecal Particles
It looks like out sheets and mattresses have more bacteria than the chimp’s nests. And if you’re ready to throw some disinfectant on the bed, don’t do it. Scientists found out that our attempts at cleaning our environment make things worse.
The sheets on our beds are full of bacteria, and 35% of it comes from our bodies: saliva, skin and yes – fecal particles!
On the other hand, chimps – who are our closest relatives on the evolutionary line – sleep in a cleaner ‘bed.’
Megan Thoemmes said: “We found almost none of those microbes in the chimpanzee nests, which was a little surprising.”
Fewer Insects or Parasites on Chimps’ Beds
After taking 41 samples from the chimps’ beds in Tanzania, the researchers tested for microbes. In 15 of the nests, researchers vacuumed to check for insects, spiders, mites, and ticks. What they found was even more confusing:
“We also expected to see a significant number of arthropod parasites, but we didn’t.”
As for fleas, lice or bed bugs – they weren’t too many, said Ms. Thoemmes:
“There were only four ectoparasites found, across all the nests we looked at. And that’s four individual specimens, not four different species.”
Researchers believe that one of the answers to the chimp’s cleaner beds is that they make them every day up in the treetops, so they’re ‘fresh.’
Ms Thoemmes explains a different factor:
“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.”
The study concludes, saying that in our struggle to create a sleeping environment without soil or microbes from the environment, we now exposed ourselves to our ecosystem that is more prone to gather arthropod communities, which are even “specialised on life indoors.”
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.