Gorilla Gourmet

Digestive health for me and you. Is the answer: gorilla POO?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science on why waste-matter…matters!

For centuries, scientists have looked for answers on the evolution of human gut health. Specifically, our microbiomes – all the bacteria that make up our digestive tract.

They’ve looked at cave paintings, explored ancient bones, and dug up fossils.

Allison Hicks and her team at Columbia University took a different route. They went digging around in GORILLA poop. To get at gut health, they sequenced the poop’s D-N-A for the Great Apes.

What did they find? Despite the gorillas being our closest evolutionary relatives,, our microbiomes are quite different. The human microbiome is far less diverse than gorillas’.

Why? Gorillas’ diets change seasonally with rainforest food patterns, and so do their gut bacteria. Each season, the food they eat is broken down by a different team of bacteria.

This microbiome diversity keeps the gorillas happy, healthy, and disease-free!

Researchers believe this knowledge could help prevent diseases in humans, if we eat more like them!

While their research aims to be number one, they’ll settle for number TWO. Sorry!