Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tanzanian Chimps Get Help From ‘Professor Poop’

NEW YORK (Wireless Flash - FlashNews) – Some wild chimps in Tanzania who’ve been studied by researchers since the ‘60s may be catching the flu from humans, and according to the longtime host of National Geographic Explorer, Boyd Matson, the proof is in the poop.

Tomorrow (Nov. 16) Matson is hosting a show on PBS called Wild Chronicles, covering his visit to the Mahale Mountains National Park in Tanzania and the chimp flu study being carried out there by Virginia Tech University.

Although the Tanzanian chimps are “acclimated to people,” Matson says researchers can’t “grab them, touch them or dart them” to collect information about their flu-like symptoms.

So instead, a graduate student Matson jokingly calls “the doctor of poopology...or Professor Poop, as he was known locally” collects feces to determine what kinds of diseases the chimps have contracted and measure their stress levels.

Matson says the show will reveal the benefits and wonders of non-invasive observations – including the examination of urine, feces and hair.

Of the hair, he says, “It’s DNA. You can discover everything but O.J. as a killer from that.”

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