1,000 Species of Bacteria Crawling on Our Skin

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2009 6:08 PM CDT
About 1,000 species of bacteria live on our skin, says a new study.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – We're not alone. A new study by the National Institutes of Health estimates that 1,000 different species of bacteria inhabit our skin, reports the Los Angeles Times. Some specialize in the terrain of the armpit or the belly button, while others prefer drier (and less populated) locales such as the forearm. Scientists aren't sure yet what all these tiny neighbors are doing, but they think it's something useful.

"We live in a microbial world, and these things are not all out to get us," said a specialist who wasn't involved with the study. "You don't want to live in a sterile world. You probably can't live in a sterile world." The study is a precursor to a $115 million NIH project to study microorganisms of the body.