Dealing with Variation in Hormone Metabolite Measurements: A Tale of Poop

Post provided by EVE DAVIDIAN and SARAH BENHAIEM (DEPARTMENT OF EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY, IZW, BERLIN)

On the Art of Collecting Faeces

Sarah Benhaiem waiting for a faecal sample from a spotted hyena in the Serengeti National Park.©Sarah Benhaiem

Sarah Benhaiem waiting for a faecal sample from a spotted hyena in the Serengeti National Park.©Sarah Benhaiem

Whether you are a laboratory or a field scientist, you have to be willing to get your hands dirty from time to time for the good of science. Sarah and I took that literally and spent a large part of our respective PhD projects handling faeces of free-ranging spotted hyenas from the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania.

Though faeces often are underrated, they are highly valuable material to work with because they conceal the most secret details about an animal’s social and sexual life. But having the privilege of holding a still-steaming poop is something you have to earn! Continue reading