“Attention, people: your beds are dirtier than chimpanzees” – so says a new article published by the staff of the University of North Carolina. It turned out that modern man really sleeps among the allotments of his own ecosystem.
Researchers working in Tanzania made a sad conclusion: our beds are much richer in microbes – including fecal, oral and dermal bacteria – than the places where chimpanzees spend the night. “In the modern person’s bed, various subsets of taxa (types) of microorganisms from all over the house often inhabit,” states Megan Thoemmes, lead author of the study. Scientists wanted to compare us with some of their closest relatives on an evolutionary tree and find out whether they suffer from the abundance of microbes.
Scientists collected samples of microenvironment in 41 “nests” of chimpanzees and found out that for all the diversity of microflora of harmful fecal and cutaneous bacteria there is an order of magnitude less than in a person’s bed. “We found almost no harmful pathogens, and it was even amazing,” Toems said. In addition, scientists also failed to find parasitic insects in the nesting grounds of chimpanzees, which also quite surprised the researchers.
So what’s the secret? Did the chimpanzees invent some unique cleansers? It turned out that everything is much simpler. The fact is that wild primates spend the night on the tops of trees, while people day after day fall into the same beds, and often often not alone. Mattresses, pillows and blankets eventually become a habitat for mites and other tiny insects that feed on dying scales of the skin, while chimpanzees are practically spared from this.
“Mankind has created beds that are almost completely isolated from the environment – and become hostage to their own microflora,” the study authors write. Trying to preserve the purity, we, perhaps, further aggravated our situation. Time to move to the trees?