Art restorers have cleaned the Medici Chapel in Florence with the help of bacteria. Serratia, Pseudomonas and Rhodococcus ate away at detritus—from visitors and decaying corpses—that had seeped into Michelangelo’s sarcophagi.
Genetic analysis confirmed that a female giant tortoise, discovered in the Galápagos Islands in 2019, belongs to a species last seen in 1906. Rangers spotted evidence of at least two more of the reptiles, buoying hopes of finding a mate for the female.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Mount Nyiragongo, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, erupted for the first time since 2002 and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. A local volcano observatory had warned of a possible eruption last year, but budget cuts and an Internet disruption limited its ability to predict the blast.
Researchers found that monsoon seasons lengthened by climate change are damaging some of the world’s oldest rock art. The rains most likely increase salt crystal formation in Sulawesi island’s limestone caves, breaking up the 20,000- to 45,500-year-old paintings’ rocky canvases.
A giant pouched rat named Magawa has retired after sniffing out unexploded land mines for five years. Trained by a Belgian nonprofit organization, the rodent received a bravery prize previously awarded only to dogs.
At least seven Tasmanian devils were born in mainland Australia—the first wild births there in 3,000 years—after the animals were reintroduced last year. Human settlers had long ago brought in dingoes, which wiped out mainland devils and limited their range to the island state of Tasmania.