The Microbes on the Handprint of an 8-Year-Old After Playing Outside

And this is how she did it:


Which of those colonies is responsible for the perpetually-sticky-hand-syndrome kids have, even when there’s nothing that could’ve possibly made them sticky?

I’m going to guess it’s the fuzzy snowflakes…


LOL, omg, you’ve noticed that, too?

I’m guessing it’s actually from lots & lots of this:


Ha, when I was in high school we did an experiment where half the class placed their hands on an agar dish and the other half did the same after washing their hands with soap and water. IIRC there was little difference between the two after a couple of weeks in an incubator.

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Wow! Needed some of this?


It’s the colony growing between the thumb and the first finger that gets me wondering is there an extra something on the hand? Has the kid already evolved an extra appendage to click a mouse? First finger to scroll, appendage between finger and thumb to click? And with people switching from traditional computers to mobile devices, is this evolutionary adaptation already the next appendix?


In this case, it’d be funny if said stickiness came from the kid touching the agar on the plate.

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I believe that one day the FDA will recognize SUGAR as the addictive poison that it is. Even so, they won’t ban it. They will tax it! :wink:


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You mean like how my “wonderful” ex-mayor Bloomberg tried to ban large sodas? What a genius he was. :scream:

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Here is a link to bring lasers into this thread regarding biological materials. The hand print by miniature biota is a beautiful example of natural design. Here is an example of taking those biological microstructures and turning them into art pieces with paper.


yeah that pic freaks me out! like an alien life form that grabs you and sucks all your blood, or something, lol

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One of the take aways from this thread could be a breaking down of the binaries we have regarding life forms. It is amazingly rare that one life form totally wipes out another life form. Early misrepresentations of evolution by means of natural selection saw it as totally us against them. This view of life and death struggle did some rationalized some serious damage to people, animals, and the environment. While I am not a total life is a bed or roses guy, cooperative strategies and symbiosis are much more prevelant than we think. It’s not all selfish-parasites.

Here is where art can make a difference. What does that hand print mean to me? An invitation to break through the purity impulse and go play in the dirt, albeit with proper precautions knowing there there are some nasty things that might kill me.


I think one of the comments notes that most of the microbes are actually antibiotics! I guess you can’t judge a bug by appearances…

Btw, I saw a fascinating documentary on youtube once, about an award winning female scientist who studies microbes, and it was simply amazing. For example, they can actually determine how many other “friendly” or “hostile” bugs are around them, and if there are a lot of hostile ones, then they won’t emit chemical signals to announce their own presence! They literally try to keep quiet and hide from other bugs that will harm them.

Blew my mind.


Yes, a natural learning progression, a knee-jerk reaction to a new understanding.
I grew up thinking myself a separate self contained unit, apart from the hoards of bacteria and microbes - all of which were to be guarded against.
A deeper understanding has taught us the importance of our microbiome, the total number of which exceeds the cell count of our bodies. My introduction to it was a National Geographic article on the use of antibiotics titled “What happens when you swallow a grenade”.
We have come to understand that our micobiome is fundamental to many aspects of our health, all the way down to our mood.

More than 99% of all species that ever lived has gone extinct. That track record has a message for us - Extinction is the norm.
Life is a thread that weaves it’s way through time, we participate in an ongoing cascade of symbiotic adaptation. We need each other.

There is a great need that we understand and effectively assume the stewardship of our role; the only creature this planet has ever spawned who can understand and affect it to a significant degree.
The job is ours.

“The more we learn, the greater we find is our ignorance.” - first issue of National Geographic.


I completely agree, @marmak3261! Humans really aren’t individual beings, but biomes. We may have a personal sense of self, but it’s radically influenced by all the critters who ride around inside of us, breaking down our food for us, influencing our hormones and moods and metabolism, etc. 90% of the cells in/on a “person” are bacterial cells (they tend to be smaller than the human cells). 99% of the DNA in/on us is bacterial DNA. It makes me want to take really good of the friendly members of my colony, so that “I” continue to thrive.

This fabulous TED talk by the discoverer of microbial quorum sensing (counting and conversing) is one of my favorites:


:scream::alien::eyes: lol

Say it isn’t so. That would be a very inconvenient truth :smiley:


That’s the one! The documentary I saw was about her and her work in this field…simply astonishing!