Belly Buttons Have 1,400 Strains of Bacteria

I have to admit, I’ve always been a little jealous of those who found belly button lint. Never had any myself. But from now on I’ll definitely keep my fingers away from belly buttons since scientists just found a whopping 1,400 strains of bacteria there. The research is part of North Carolina State University’s Bellybutton Biodiversity Project (yes, it’s a real thing). The project already looks fairly successful because it’s identified 662 microbes that are unclassifiable, suggesting they are new to scientists. Seems that biologists have been too busy to spend much time navel-gazing.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.