The Americas’ Oldest Human Remains Lost in Brazil Museum Fire

A municipal police officer controls a demonstrator during a protest in front of the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

In an age when major European museums can set up lavishly funded satellites in other continents, the woes of the National Museum offer a reminder that many more countries are home to equally wondrous treasures but lack the resources to safeguard them - and to help their populations appreciate their importance. He became emotional as he listed the funds and support he said he would now "demand" from authorities to salvage what was left of the collection and rebuild the museum. It was founded in 1818, the king of Portugal joão VI.

The museum was a treasure for not only housing ancient Greek, Roman artifacts, but also for its huge paleontological collections. The most famous of those artifacts was Luzia, the 11,000-year-old skull of a Paleoindian woman whose remains are the earliest discovered in the Americas. Bones of Maxakalisaurus, the long-necked dinosaur that was uniquely a Brazilian archaic animal, was among the valuable holdings of the museum.

Fires and other disasters aren't unheard of at Canadian institutions-in 1890, a fire destroyed nearly 33,000 books in the University of Toronto's collection.

Beuthner said he had been fielding calls from Jews in Israel and several Latin American countries since the fire inquiring about the relic.

It is not yet clear what the exact degree of devastation is. Instead, some scientists were focusing attention on an annex on the site, where vertebrate specimens were housed. These specimens were important for world scientific research. "Inside it there are delicate and inflammable pieces, a fabulous library", museum director Alexander Kellner told the Guardian. It was in the palace that Brazilian independence was declared in 1822, and in which the first Constituent Assembly of the Brazilian Republic convened in 1890, marking the end of the rule of the Portuguese emperor.

A display from the museum's entomological collection in 2017.

Notably, Rede Sustentabilidade presidential candidate Marina Silva echoed his concerns, claiming that the fire was a "tragedy foretold" that had been caused by the financial shortages experienced by the UFRJ and other public universities over the last three years.

Katia Bogea, president of the National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage, was quoted in the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper blaming the devastating loss on budget cuts resulting from a "crisis of values", as translated by AFP.

At the scene, many people, including some museum workers, blamed the government for chronically underfunding the institution and letting it fall into disrepair. In Rio de Janeiro was completely burned, the national Museum of Brazil.

Amid an ongoing investigation and unable to access much of the now destroyed museum, officials have been reluctant to give any account of how specific artifacts fared in the fire or disclose information on other material that may have been in other locations. "The corruption that has effects on our health, our training, makes me sick", Natan Campos, an aspect dual carriageway sweeper who works within the environs of the museum, suggested the Instances.

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