Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Beautiful--and alive

Ancient rock art's colours come from microbes
A particular type of ancient rock art in Western Australia maintains its vivid colours because it is alive, researchers have found.

While some rock art fades in hundreds of years, the "Bradshaw art" remains colourful after at least 40,000 years.

Jack Pettigrew of the University of Queensland in Australia has shown that the paintings have been colonised by colourful bacteria and fungi.

These "biofilms" may explain previous difficulties in dating such rock art.

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