Feb 12, 2007

Not fleas, but bacteria

Supposedly, a good Arabian curse is, "May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits." Those fleas may have to fight for space, though.

New York University researchers believe that every person has their own personalized zoo. They discovered that not only does each of us walk around with at least 182 different types of bacteria in our armpits, but that as many as 8% of those bacteria are unknown to scientists. Not only that, but the mix of bacteria is highly personalized and subject to change over time, though there are some regulars that stay put.

I wonder what the point is of having such personalized bacteria. Is this one way we create a unique odor, or attract certain mates? Do the bacteria make us unique, or does our uniqueness attract certain bacteria? And what else are they all doing on our skin (besides being harmless)?

This is like discovering squatters in your basement - and the remnants of their keg party.


Tim said...

Unfortunately, you can't evict the bacteria as well as you can the basement squatters.

Keera Ann Fox said...

No, but at least they won't drink all your beer. They'll just smell like it. ;-)

Mark said...

I always heard it as infest the hair of your first-born, which to me sounds even more wretched for targeting someone's children.

Keera Ann Fox said...

It did to me, too, but that was because, for a brief moment, I imagined the kid already had a full compliment of pubes and chest hair.

Fortunately, most babies lose their "birth hair" and grow in new stuff. Probably explains the lack of fleas.