Don't Worry About What's In Your Belly Button

Instead of taking our fingerprints, maybe police should swab our belly buttons with Q-tips. That’s because a group of North Carolina-based researchers recently discovered that people’s individual belly buttons are bacterially unique. For their Belly Button Biodiversity project, scientists swabbed 60 belly buttons and identified a total of 2,368 species of bacteria, 1,458 of which are new species to science. In fact, one man’s belly button harbored a bacteria that had previously been found only in soil from Japan, where he had never been. Another two had types of bacteria that typically thrive in ice caps and thermal vents (a fissure on the seafloor). Scientists say that when it comes to belly buttons, dirtier is not necessarily worse. The vast majority of bacteria in the world live in harmony with us and don't want to kill us. So should you be making an extra effort to clean out the many bacteria in your belly button? Researchers say no. Unless it's visibly grimy or you have a history of belly button infections, just let sleeping bacteria lie.