The staggering loss of a possible 20 million artifacts in the fire that consumed Brazil’s Museu Nacional in Rio boggles the mind—dinosaur fossils, the oldest human remains found in the country, and, as Emily Dreyfuss reports at Wired, “audio recordings and documents of indigenous languages. Many of those languages, already extinct, may now be lost forever.” Former Brazilian environment minister called the destruction of Latin America’s biggest natural history museum “a lobotomy of the Brazilian memory.”

Statement from the Graduate Program in Social Anthropology on the fire destroying the National Museum / UFRJ

 

This is the world’s oldest known drawing

Around 73,000 years ago, humans used a chunk of pigment to draw a pattern on a rock in a South African cave. The recently discovered fragment of the rock is now considered to be the oldest known drawing in history. From Science News:

Brazil’s National Museum fire in context

  1. Brazil’s National Museum Fire Potentially Destroyed Millions of Priceless Artifacts  Travel+Leisure
  2. Irreplaceable West Coast artifacts destroyed in Rio museum fire  CTV News
  3. A chronicle of loss at Brazil’s National Museum, much of which was destroyed by fire  Los Angeles Times
  4. Why Brazil’s Museum Fire Matters  Scientific American (blog)

Why Can’t Apes Talk?

[no-caption] Science Photo Library/Getty Images

This article was originally published at The Conversation and has been republished under Creative Commons.

We all know that parrots can talk. Some people may have even seen elephantsseals, or whales mimicking speech sounds. So why can’t our closest primate relatives speak like us? Our new research suggests they have the right vocal anatomy but not the brainpower to use it.

    1. Brazil museum fire: Funding cuts blamed as icon is gutted  BBC News
    2. ‘A lobotomy of the Brazilian memory’: Devastating fire destroys Rio’s National Museum  Washington Post
    3. Police, protesters clash after Brazil’s National Museum goes up in flames  CNN

Full coverage

 

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