The social butterfly effect
Social interactions affect your microbiome (at least if you’re a chimp)
Social interaction between chimps increases their gut microbiome richness and homogenises gut communities between different animals, report Andrew Moeller and colleagues in this month’s issue of Science Advances.
In a study spanning 8 years, Moeller et al coupled behavioural and gut microbiome samples from 40 Kasekela chimpanzees in Tanzania. Infants appear to inherit their gut microbial communities from social interactions; this between-individual similarity indicates that social behaviour can shape the pan-microbiome, allowing host species-specific evolution of gut microbial communities.
So, perhaps being a social butterfly is actually good for your gut – let’s get out there socialise!