…and, as you can imagine, a whole load of less scientific terms of which ‘transpoosions’ is one of the less cringe-making…
But, whatever about the terminology, as the conviction grows that the health of inhabitants of our bowels, be they bacteria or parasites, may play a far greater role in the health of our bodies than we had realised, repopulating an ailing bowel with someone else’s healthy bacteria seemes to make as much sense as replacing one person’s ailing heart with another person’s healthy heart. Except, of course, that the ‘donor’ does not have to die for us to do it – which is certainly one up for faecal transplants!
Well, over a cup of steaming brew from the inestimable Giorgio, I was telling Cressida about the new section on the site and she piped up with,
‘Oh, I know all about faecal samples – I used to take them from baboons with the tip of my finger….’ Well, that is the kind of comment that can scarcely go uninvestigated, so we asked for more and she said….
‘It was part of a PhD project in which I was involved researching into baboons’ social behaviour.
Every member of one troupe of baboons was darted and sedated so that we could weigh and measure them, examine their teeth and so on. But we also wanted to find out more about their diet – mostly acacia pods, cousins of the now-popular mesquite pod – and the differences in diets between members of the baboon troupe. So yours truly was required to gently insert her gloved little finger up the baboon’s bum and withdraw any pooh lurking within. The pooh would then be scraped into a glass test tube, a lid screwed on, labelled and taken to the lab for analysis. The baboons varied in size, from wee babies to enormous alpha male troupe leaders – but regardless of size, my finger had its job to do – distinctly scary when it was up the backside of it a massive, hairy male baboon!’