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Chimps and Humans Share Another Evolutionary Link: Gut Bacteria

In the last few years, scientists have made great inroads in understanding the crucial interactive role gut bacteria play in harvesting nutrients, assisting immune systems, and protecting the host against pathogens.

Now Yale University researchers have discovered that humans and chimpanzees, our closest evolutionary relatives, share the same three distinct communities, or ecosystems, of bacteria in their guts.

“This shared organization of the gut microbial community is millions of years old and the findings attest to their functional importance,” said Howard Ochman, director of the Microbial Diversity Institute on West Campus and an author of the study, which appears in the Nov. 13 issue of the journal Nature Communications.

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