An intriguing article is making the rounds about a primatologist named Koichiro Zamma who has developed a bed, called the humankind evolution bed, that is based on how chimpanzees construct their own beds in the forests. Apparently he tried out a chimpanzee-constructed nest while tracking chimpanzees in the wild and found it to be very comfortable, waking up quite refreshed after his night of nesting.
A prototype of his invention is currently on display at Kyoto University Museum in Japan. Articles say this about the bed: “The mattress features a depression in the centre to replicate the natural dip in a chimp’s treetop bed and has a raised periphery for the head, legs and arms. It is supported by a frame made from woven paper string for maximum breathability, and eight curved legs that are designed to allow the bed to rock almost imperceptibly.”
As we’ve written in the past, chimpanzees in captivity make similar constructions for their nests as their free-living counterparts, building up walls of material (blankets, straw, paper, etc), and laying in the middle.
Jody is a master nest-maker:
Missy makes a pretty mean nest too. This was one of my favorite photos from the early days of the sanctuary:
In fact, these two were featured in this tutorial-style blog post about how to nest.
Here are some more photos of nesting from the Cle Elum Seven:
I have to admit that I wonder if perhaps Zamma’s restful night of sleep was due to being particularly exhausted after a day of following chimpanzees around the forest, but I remain intrigued.
What do you think – are chimpanzees on to something that we should be paying attention to? Should we ditch our flat mattresses? Would you want a humankind evolution bed?