What lives in your belly button? A 'rainforest' of species
Don't be alarmed, though. Says one researcher, "It's quite beautiful."
The upshot? Belly buttons, it turns out, are a lot like rainforests.
The whole thing started about two years ago. An undergrad's only-in-a-biology-lab idea—sampling colleague's navel bacteria for a holiday card—struck a chord with the North Carolina State University team, which had adopted a new focus on citizen science.
What better way to get the public interested in science than by showing them their skin's own thriving ecosystems? "And belly buttons are just ridiculous enough to appeal to almost everyone," Dunn added.
What's more, given the belly button's status as one of the body's most rarely scrubbed crannies, it offered researchers a chance to study as close to a pristine microbial landscape as is possible on the modern human.
So in early