Your body has 100 trillion cells, but only 10 trillion are human. The rest belong to the bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites that live on or in us. Some of these tenants are actually beneficial, aiding in the digestion process, for example. The majority of them neither help nor hurt us, but simply coexist with us. A few species, however, from the cholera bacilli to tapeworms and lice, can be dangerous, and sometimes deadly. In Human Wildlife, Dr. Robert Buckman takes readers on a safari through the human body, pointing out the long-term residents, the itinerant visitors, the irritating vandals, and the ruthless invaders, carefully distinguishing between helpful friends, harmless acquaintances, and lethal foes. By turns funny, amazing, and alarming, Human Wildlife is an endlessly fascinating journey through our own private biospheres.
Along the way, we learn that one-third of the human race is allergic to dust mite feces; that bad breath is caused by bacteria living on the back of our tongues which release sulfur from the protein we eat; that live maggots are being successfully used to treat drug-resistant infections; that fresh sweat is odorless (the smell results from the activity of armpit bacteria); and that the average kitchen cutting board has more bacteria than the top of a toilet seat. Accompanied by stunning, full-color and high-magnification images of these myriad organisms, Dr. Buckman's informative and engrossing text is leavened with a delightful sense of humor.