Tombs are the domain of archaeologists, not biologists. So it was strange to hear of two new bacteria discovered in the ancient, 2nd century Roman Catacombs of Saint Callistus.
Bacteria are known to grow inside of tombs, and these two new ones were found thriving in the wall patinas or coatings of the interior of the catacombs.
The new bacteria belong to the genus Kribella which was discovered only in 1999. They are named Kribella catacumbae and Kribella sancticallisti.
Researcher Clara Urzi of the University of Messina in Italy says the conditions in the catacombs have allowed the bacteria to change, and that even tiny changes in the environment can make them evolve distinctly.
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