It is so easy to neglect washing out our navels, out of mind out of sight, butÂ recent research proved just how important it is to scrub every inch of our bodies.
A team of scientists at North Carolina Sate University have given a whole new meaning to naval-gazing.
The researches made a startling discovery after they carried out naval swab tests on 95 volunteers.
They discovered that inside the minute caves harbours as many as 1,400 different strains of bacteria. 662 of them are unrecognised and belongs to be a unique new species.
These finding may inspire you to spend a little extra time in the shower, but luckily 80% of the strains were identified as fairly common species of bacteria – mainly harmless skin dwellers.
Unsurprisingly the amount of bacteria the volunteers were giving home to hughley depend on their personal hygiene.
Scientist journalist Peter Aldhous is a keen washer and as a result no bacterial colonies were located in his naval. However, fellow scientist Carl Zimmer has a little more to be ashamed of as his belly button was hosting at least 53 different species, some of which had very surprising provenance.
He was left very baffled once his results had come though: ‘Several species I’ve got, such as Marimonas, have only been found in the ocean before.
‘I am particularly baffled that I carry a species called Georgenia. Before me, scientists had only found it living in the soil. In Japan.’
This fascinating discovery lead the scientist to bread colonies of the different species in test tubes. Once they were big enough, they proceeded to photograph them and extract their DNA for comparison to known bacteria.
Exploring human belly buttons may seem a strange day job to us but the scientist gave the reasoning for theirÂ bizarre experiments and breeding programme.
They explained they were passionate about investigating navels because ‘everybody has one, its what once connected us to our past.
‘Yet, we barely notice it in our daily lives, to the point that few people actually wash theirs. Which is great for the bacteria.’
Project leader Jiri Hulcr said: ‘We’re probably the only ones studying human belly buttons on such a large scale.’