Human Wildlife


This book, Human Wildlife, is an interesting survey of the fungi, yeasts, bacteria, worms and other creatures that inhabit the human body. Though sometimes hard to read, it’s certainly illuminating to know about the symbiotic relationships that the human body entertains, and well as the more parasitic ones.

The book features many color photos of the denizens themselves (some of the photos are not for the faint-of-heart). The author, Robert Buckman, approaches his enthusiastically and humorously. I like this review by Effi Ofer:

The human body contains about 100 trillion cells, but only 10 trillions of them are human. The rest belong to the entities that call our body home. In Human Wildlife Robert Buckman takes us through a tour of the lives of the worms, bacteria, viruses and other creatures that live on and in us.

I picked up this book after listening to an interview with Dr Buckman. I was fascinated by the details Buckman provided on the origins of pheromones (produced by bacteria in our armpits), mouth breath (bacteria at the back of the tongue), and the cause of fart smell (colon bacteria breaking down proteins). What finally sold me on the book was the discussion on feces, a topic on which I know very little.

Now that I have finished reading the book I can say that I have not been disappointed. Buckman is informative while entertaining at the same time. His story about the fart-in-the-library problem made me laugh out loud 🙂 I wish Buckman went into a little more details on some topics, but that can only be expected from an introductory text geared toward the general public.

Last but not least, the pictures and illustrations in this book are outstanding. I will never look at an eyebrow again without expecting to see a little Demodex, an eyebrow mite that two thirds of us carry, wiggling its tail back at me.

The book can be found at Amazon.

Comments 1

  1. Thanks for the info on the Human Wildlife book. I read about the cell ratio of Human to Bacteria/Parisites etc.. from James Rollins book The Judas Strain. Cool stuff !!

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