If you were told you had an ecosystem living in your belly button, it might come as a bit of shock. The Belly Button Biodiversity project has set out to catalog just what’s living inside the navel. The project, overseen by scientists from North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, has taken a sampling of belly button swabs from themselves as well as students, science bloggers and others.
The BBB scientists want to strike down the “bad bacteria” stereotype and teach the world that many bacteria are harmless, helpful and often just hanging around, mooching off your body. The navel is an ideal place for bacteria to thrive because it’s isolated and most people don’t bother to wash it.