A Smudge on Paleolithic Art
In 2001, black stains began to appear on the walls of Lascaux Cave in France. These stains were so prevalent by 2007 that they became one of the major concerns for the conservation of the precious rock art at the site that dates from the Upper Palaeolithic. A white fungus, Fusarium solani, outbreak had been successfully treated when, a few months later, black staining fungi appeared. The genus Ochroconis primarily includes fungi occurring in the soil and associated with the decomposition of plant matter. While the two new species isolated from Lascaux, are as far as known harmless, at least one species of the group, O. gallopava, causes diseases in immunocompromised humans.
Martin-Sanchez, P. M., Novakova, A., Bastian, F., Alabouvette, C., and C. Saiz-Jimenez. 2012. Two new species of the genus Ochroconis, O. lascauxensis and O. anomala isolated from black stains in Lascaux Cave, France. Fungal Biology 116, 574-589.
Lascaux Cave, France. Source: Prof. Saxx. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lascaux_painting.jpg