Researchers Explore the Belly Button, Say It's Like a Rainforest

There is a “a terrible, yawning, richness of life” in it, specialists explain

The scientific journal PLoS ONE recently witnessed the publication of a new study showing that the belly button is strikingly similar to a rainforest, meaning that it contains more life forms that one would ever imagine.

According to the specialists who looked into this issue, the belly buttons of just 66 participants contained more than 2,000 different species of bacteria within them.

Interestingly enough, some of these species are still relatively unknown to science, meaning that it is quite difficult to stumble upon them in other places of the natural world.

As Tree Hugger explains, all of the 66 participants to this study had a shockingly unique makeup of the bacterial flora in their belly buttons. More precisely, not one bacterium was found in all of the belly buttons subjected to this thorough investigation.

“As we looked at belly buttons we saw a terrible, yawning, richness of life. (…) The vast majority of these species are rare,” explained team leader Dr. Robert Dunn.

“Right away something struck an ecological chord. The belly buttons reminded me of rainforests,” he went on to add.

Apparently, some of the bacteria found in the belly buttons of the individuals who agreed to take part in this research usually thrive in marine environments or in soils with a very specific chemical makeup, so nobody can really say how it is that they developed and grew in an environment which is quite different from their natural habitats.

For the time being, researchers are still unsure why it is that the bacterial flora found in the belly buttons of various individuals differs so much from one another.

However, they hope that future investigations will provide them with an answer to this pressing question.

“We are still trying to figure out what determines which of these species are found in a given person's belly button. We've looked at sex, age, ethnicity and a number of other factors – none of them are predictive of which species live in that person,” Dr. Robert Dunn said.

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