(New Scientist) If you were told you had an ecosystem living in your belly button, it might come as a bit of shock. Well, you probably do. These are just a few of the samples that Belly Button Biodiversity (BBB), a group of scientists from North Carolina University in Raleigh and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, have taken from themselves as well as students, science bloggers and others.

BBB want to strike down the “bad bacteria” stereotype and teach the world that many bacteria are harmless, helpful and a lot of times 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. But what BBB wondered was, do the bacteria change from person to person?

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