New York: Scientists have found that the human navel plays host to a number of unknown strains of bacteria.
North Carolina State University scientists under the Raleigh’s Belly Button Biodiversity project have discovered more than 1,400 strains of bacteria in just 95 samples.
What’s even stranger is that more than a third of these strains could not be classified.
Team leader Jiri Hulcr told New Scientist that this “strongly suggests that they are new to science”.
Discover science writer Carl Zimmer, who allowed his navel to be swabbed for the study, was surprised to find that he was host to a “whopping” 53 strains of bacteria.
“Several species I’ve got, such as Marimonas, have only been found in the ocean before,” the New York Daily News quoted Zimmer as saying.
“I am particular baffled that I carry a species called Georgenia. Before me, scientists had only found it living in the soil. In Japan,” he stated.
According to the research team, the results are shocking only because, we just don’t know enough about microbial diversity in different habitats – including our belly buttons.