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What's inside your belly button? Probably dirt and sweat; possibly some lint, and perhaps even a piercing. But according to new research, which asked 66 men and women to swab their navels with a sterile Q-tip, the skin in study participants' belly buttons also contained an average of 67 different species of bacteria.
Why belly buttons? "It was a fun way to reach out to the public and teach them about the ecology and evolution of everyday life," says Rob Dunn, PhD, an associate professor of biology at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, who led the study. In other words, the navel is a novel, attention-getting device to study science.
Two samples contained an extremely rare type of archaea, a single-cell organism never previously found on human skin. One of these samples came from a man who self-reported that he had not bathed or showered for several years -- yikes!
Dunn said his research team will continue to study belly button bacteria and have collected more than 500 samples. But they have also started to look into the microbial diversity of underarms, and they are currently recruiting people interested in sampling the microbial communities found in their homes.
Originally posted by Ghost375
Well I'm going to have to think twice before I lick someone there.