Fire destroys priceless artefacts at Brazil’s National Museum | Artificial intelligence

Brazil's National Museum on fire
struck Brazil's National on Sunday

STR/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil's oldest and most important scientific museum was gutted by fire on Sunday, destroying within hours priceless scientific artefacts and collections gathered since the National Museum was founded in 1818.

They included the massive Bendegó meteorite, weighing 5260 kilograms, and Luzia, a 12,000-year-old human skeleton, the oldest in the Americas. Based in Rio de Janeiro, the museum housed irreplaceable collections of scientific artefacts, specimens and records in geology, botany, biology, palaeontology and zoology, as well as priceless collections of cultural and anthropological artefacts.

“It is incalculable for Brazil to lose the collection of the National Museum,” said Michel Temer, Brazil's president, in a statement reported by The Rio Times. “Two hundred years of work, research and knowledge were lost.”

Media sources report that the fire began between the museum closing as usual on Sunday, 2 September at 5pm, and 7.30pm. Some reports claim that two key fire hydrants on site were dry, preventing firefighters from tackling the fire in the early stages. Other reports say that successive governments had allowed the museum to fall into disrepair.

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