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Volunteer your belly button and get $2 off Grossology

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — April 4, 2011
Science, Education, Travel Editors
Contact: emelia.cowans@naturalsciences.org; 919.733.7450, x305

Find out what lives inside your belly button and receive a discounted ticket to “Animal Grossology”

Raleigh — We know more about the creatures of the sea than we do our own belly buttons, but thanks to the Belly Button Biodiversity project, you can find out what’s living inside of yours! On Saturday, April 9 from 9 a.m. to noon at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the first 200 brave souls to volunteer to have their belly buttons sampled will receive $2 off admission into “Animal Grossology,” the Museum’s current traveling exhibit, now in its final weeks, running through April 24.

Participation is easy! Lift up your shirt and let a member of our team swab your belly button. They will grow and identify the bacteria, and you get the photographic results. Meet your personal ecosystem, in color! If the thought of that isn’t gross enough for you, check out “Animal Grossology” and learn more than you ever wanted to know about blood-slurping, slime-making, vomit-munching and “poo”-loving creatures!

Belly Button Sample #974We all know that species live on and under our beds, in our carpets, or in our backyards. But how many living organisms are on a square centimeter of your skin? Better yet, what do they do, and how do they differ from those of your neighbor? Very little is known about the life that breathes all over us. Each person's microbial jungle is so rich, colorful, and dynamic that in all likelihood your body hosts species that no scientist has ever studied. Your navel may well be one of the last biological frontiers.

The Belly Button Biodiversity team is made up of a group of biologists and science communicators from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and North Carolina State University. The goal of this project is to explore and discover what microorganisms live on us. They decided to begin with the belly button because our navels are relatively isolated and are a place where microbes are safe. Also, very few people wash theirs so it’s the perfect spot to gather bacteria.

For more information about the Belly Button Biodiversity Project or “Animal Grossology” call 919.733.7450, x304/305.