Diversity Macro and Micro
25 October 2013 | Boulder CO
All of these parrots and parakeets must come here daily to eat some of this clay as it neutralizes the poisons that are in the fruits that they eat.
Tropical rainforests are the most diverse ecosystems on earth. A four-square mile patch of rainforest contains as many as 1500 species of flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 125 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, 100 species of reptiles, 60 species of amphibians, and 150 species of butterflies. More than 50% of the world's plant and animal species inhabit the 7% of the world that is covered in rainforest. We heard that one tree in the rainforest can have more species of ants in it than exist in all of the UK!
What we didn't know at the time, and what we have learned since is that our intestines are almost as interesting!! Somewhere between 300 and 1000 species live in our guts! Wow...
So, while in South America we picked up a few extra species that were upsetting the delicate balance and our guts had some serious issues, as often happens when an invasive species enters a particular habitat. To get rid of some bacteria and at least one species of amoeba, we took some pretty intense medication (Isobel with her more robust gut did not require the worse of the cocktail.)
Lara was not as affected as I was. For me it took quite a while to bring my intestinal flora diversity back. I saw a doctor in Boulder who informed me that 70% of the cells in my body are not my own!! 10% of those are on our skin (and we need them there... so why do we use anti-bactieral soap etc??) and the rest are in our guts! Wow. If you go to Wikipedia you can find some very well documented information that relates to all this. This is an excerpt:
The human body carries about 100 trillion microorganisms in its intestines, a number ten times greater than the total number of human cells in the body. The metabolic activities performed by these bacteria resemble those of an organ, leading some to liken gut bacteria to a "forgotten" organ. It is estimated that these gut flora have around a hundred times as many genes in aggregate as there are in the human genome.
In my recovery, I have found that wheat adversely affects how all those 100 trillion microorganisms function... so now I have to see if I can brew some gluten free beer!!