A new study has revealed a vast array of bacteria residing in people's navels -- almost 3,000 in all, NBC News reported Friday.


The study, published this week in the journal PLOS One, showed 2,368 types of bacteria collected from the bellybuttons of just 66 participants, including the researchers, based out of North Carolina State University.

Respondents were asked to swab their bellybuttons with a sterilized Q-Tip and present their findings. A gallery of the results has been posted online, with the researchers taking part.

"It was a fun way to reach out to the public and teach them about the ecology and evolution of everyday life," said team leader Rob Dunn, an associate biology professor at the university.

The study showed an average of 67 types of bacteria per navel, but only 8 were found in 70 percent of respondents.

Dunn also said the study hopes to collect at least 500 bellybutton-based samples, with similar efforts planned to look into the types of bacteria residing in peoples' homes and underarms.

["Moderate Beer Belly" photo by Stephen Kiers via Shutterstock]