Does your beard have poop in it? When science goes down the toilet…

That's a big, beautiful, poop-free beard.
That’s a big, beautiful, poop-free beard.

The Problem

  • There were reports going around the interwebs saying that men’s beards contain more poop bacteria than a toilet. Gross.

The “Study”

  • A reporter used a special beard swabber (this is not a word according to the dictionary I beg to differ) to swab the beards of a “handful” (read: five or fewer) of guys and sent the swabs off to a lab to be tested for bacteria.

The Results

  • The tests came back showing that enteric (aka intestinal) bacteria was in the beards.
  • Enteric bacteria can also be found in feces.
  • BUTT, just because intestinal bacteria was in the beards does NOT mean that the beards contained actual poop.
  • Since we don’t live in a totally sterile environment, bacteria are found everywhere. Even poop bacteria. Even in beards. (Permission to go scrub your skin off granted)

The REAL Problem

  • This was not good science.
  • Not only was it not good science, it wasn’t science AT ALL.
  • The story went viral (because poop) and sent hipsters and mountain men everywhere running for their razors.
  • Most people that read it didn’t question how the study was done.
  • The study size was way too small, it wasn’t checked out and given the academic version of a thumbs up by any other scientists, and a whole lot of other factors made it stink like…you know.

The Takeaway

  • The poo-in-beards story was total crap.

So remember, PLEASE don’t believe all the “science” you read. If it looks like poo and it smells like poo (and it’s not peer reviewed), it’s probably your beard poo.

Question everything. Except your mom. Definitely not your mom.
Question everything. Except your mom. That never ends well.

Also this about zombies. Definitely believe this.

Knowledge dropping of the day:

Just dropped in to share some knowledge!
Just dropped in to share some knowledge!

Theory vs. Law– To be accepted by the scientific community, a theory is an explanation for something that has to be supported very strongly by LOTS and LOTS of evidence (for example, evolution. Yes, evolution.).

A law is based on repeated observations of something happening (it’s never NOT happened, that we’ve seen, although scientists are always trying to “break” laws) and it’s not an explanation for WHY something happens (for example, gravity on a non- sub-atomic level).

And that’s a big ol’ pile of science knowledge I just dropped :).

See the bad science reporting in its natural habitat: http://www.koat.com/news/some-beards-as-dirty-as-toilets/32675046

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Author: Emily

I started Rise and Sci because I love science, I love teaching people new things and I want to help build a greater public understanding of all things science. My goal is to take hard to understand concepts and make them accessible to everyone- all in a fun an interesting format!

6 thoughts on “Does your beard have poop in it? When science goes down the toilet…”

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