The Secret World of Bacteria

 

Warning: this article should not be read within proximity to sandpaper or pumice rocks as there is a high likelihood of sanding down one’s skin in terror. This one gets gross, kiddies.

One of the many benefits already seen since the inception of the Human Microbiome Project in 2007 is the outrageous discovery that only 10% of our body is human.

What kind of madman rant are you going on this time, Qwizx?

As it turns out, crazy as it may sound, the overwhelming majority of cells within/out our person are bacteria. In fact, we are a staggering 90% non-human. Swimming amidst the estimated 10 trillion cells constituting your selfness are something like 100 trillion individual little critters that call your life-fluids home. In a microscopic landscape of terrain, legions of monsters are swathing, swarming, warring, breeding, breathing and all-out taking over the slabs of meat we self-reference as “I.”

100 trillion is a big number, maybe too large for a human mind to fathom, so instead, let’s imagine it this way: There are currently 7,000,000,000 people in the world (that’s billion, with a B)… There are 14 THOUSAND times that many (our current planetary population) bacteria wiggling inside you this moment, Jacuzzi-ing in your tear-ducts as you read this. When I say bacteria, by the way, I mean these things (thank you, electron microscopes)…

Cluster of E. Coli sipping margaritas by the lake of sulfur in hell, or…

Setting up camp in a clump of uranium like it ain’t no thang

Essentially, research teams have gathered data that redefines humanity, suggesting the body is a superorganism “whose metabolism represents an amalgamation of microbial and human attributes.

Life always finds a way, just not necessarily humanoid life. A genomic sequencing study has recently discovered high numbers of hydrothermal vent eubacteria on prosthetic hip joints. This wouldn’t be a big deal, considering the plethora of ghouls infesting people, accept hydrothermal vent eubacteria are a species once thought only to live in the blackness of the ocean’s depths (you know, cause surviving on uranium isn’t scary enough).

(below) At Steve’s liver for the weekly orgy and ritual-sacrifice (BYOB) 

By no means is this exclusively shiver-inducing news. Like when Copernicus realized the earth revolved around the sun, this is a “discovery,” meaning it was always true, just now it’s news to us. No need for mass panic, cause this is how it’s supposed to work, and always has. However, there are some interesting implications:

Hurray, no more lonely Saturday nights!

Imagine our bodies, now, as a planet onto themselves, where bacteria pay their property taxes, vote, and even take their kids to little league in the small intestine. We humans are not individuals, but a collective, a civilization or a conglomerate, united in a symbiosis where each individual creepy-crawly plays his part on the whole. Sure, just like in human civilizations, there are the equivalent of warring gang factions, and like we always do, these sparse rebels gets all the focus (I’m looking at you, gonorrhea.), but our microscopic brothers and sisters are absolutely essential to our  continued existence.

If we’re like a corporation, hell yeah, I get to be the CEO.

Not quite. Sorry. We’re more like the semi-dipshit boss wrapped around his employees’ fingers. The sneaky scallywags just let us think the best ideas are ours so we can save face; the germs are in charge. Through the clever excretion of chemicals, our fuzzy little friends manipulate our lives in almost every conceivable way, from our health to straight up mind-control. However, don’t panic; it’s less like “Invasion of the Body-Snatchers,” and more like the Futurama episode where Fry eats the vending machine egg salad and becomes an Ubber-Fry.

Cuddly fella literally tugging at heart strings.

The NIH’s Human Microbiome Project plans on cataloging the entire human microbiome, or metagenome, and thus far only approximately 1% of this microbiota has been characterized and identified.  They’ve just begun to peak into the Pandora’s box of possibilities from our neighbors to the nano, so, I don’t know about you, but I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for sensory enhancing super parasites.

By all means, keep washing your hands, but these guys are unavoidable. See that cute fella hiding in the upper-left corner of this close-up of dust (below), the Kraken-lookin spawn of Lucifer posing for a cameo in your nightmares? He’s everywhere.

(technicolor added for enhanced terror)

 

As a final gut-wrenching thought, even if you just brushed your teeth, here’s a close-up of just some of the things currently crawling on your tongue.

 

 Sources:

hmpdacc.org

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov (2, 3, 4 times)

mpkb.org

scientificamerican.com

news.sciencemag.org

watchcartoononline.com

 

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