Fire Devastates Brazil's Oldest Science Museum
The overnight inferno likely claimed fossils, cultural artifacts, and more irreplaceable collections amassed over 200 years.
Major pieces of Brazil's scientific and cultural heritage went up in smoke on September 2, as a devastating fire ripped through much of Rio de Janeiro's Museu Nacional, or National Museum. Founded in 1818, the museum is Brazil's oldest scientific institution and one of the largest and most renowned museums in Latin America, amassing a collection of some 20 million scientifically and culturally invaluable artifacts.
The Museu Nacional's holdings include Luzia, an 11,500-year-old skull considered one of South America's oldest human fossils, as well as the bones of uniquely Brazilian creatures such as the long-necked dinosaur Maxakalisaurus. Because of the auction tastes of Brazil's 19th-century emperors, the Museu Nacional also ended up with Latin America's oldest collection