Slideshow: Secrets Inside the Guts of Africa's Hunter-Gatherers

Martin is a contributing news editor and writer based in Amsterdam

Scientists are finding more and more evidence that billions of microbes live in and on our bodies. Some believe that, as a result of diet and lifestyle, the bacteria that inhabit the guts of people in Western countries are so different from that of our ancestors that they contribute to "modern" diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular problems.

Anthropologist Jeff Leach hopes to test that theory by studying the microbiota of the Hadza, a community of hunter-gatherers in northern Tanzania whose lifestyle resembles that of humanity before the advent of agriculture. Leach, who's spending 2 years among the Hadza, also plans to adopt their lifestyle for a while to find out how it will change the microbes living in and on his own body. The first results of the study are expected later this year.

For a longer story, seeGut Instinct” in this week’s issue of Science.

Posted in Biology, Health