chimp poop

Male chimps compete to set up dominance hierarchies. The males on top – the alphas and other high-ranking males – get the most access to females. Wednesday for ScienceNOW I wrote about a study on what this means for their testosterone levels and their parasite load. Read it here.

For an item this short, I don’t usually need to talk to the researchers, but in this case I called up the first author because I couldn’t find a copy of the paper. This study involved picking up fresh chimp poop, which I gather is a pretty common way to study non-human primates. (I don’t think they appreciate having blood drawn.) He told me they have to dry the poop in the field, and at the time they were doing this study, they were doing it with a little portable oven. The smell? “It’s not cookies,” he said.

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