The human microbiome has untold numbers of diverse bacteria within it. But around the world, many species are dying out.
In the Amazon rainforest of Venezuela, Yanomami hunter-gatherers subsist on cassava, palm hearts and wild banana. They also hunt frogs, monkeys and tapirs, using techniques that probably would have been familiar to their ancestors 11,000 years ago. The extraordinary continuity of their culture, and the fact that some of the groups have had scant contact with outsiders, led biologists to wonder whether the Yanomami might reveal what the human digestive system looked like before industrialization…
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