Traveldiaries: 2015-01-25_BsAsMuseoNaturalesCienciales
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Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales Bernardino Rivadavia (MACN)
To get to know the beginning of the 202 years old museum (Wikipedia) the time machine needs to fly back again to one of the most important periods in the Argentine history: the dawn of the 19. century.

The eponym Bernardino Rivadavia was born on 20th of May 1780 into a wealthy intellectual family in Buenos Aires. His father was from Spain and worked as a lawyer to earn money for the daily empanadas. Rivadavia started his high school education in the Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires but he left after a few courses rather learning commerce. During these years the British Invasion attacked Argentina and Rivadavia fought actively in the Galician Volunteers to defend the country. Likewise to many men with similar backgrounds in those times, the military past, parental influences and education later rowed Rivadavia as well onto the waters of politics: as a first step he had a secretary position without voting rights in the First Triumvirate which along with the earlier mentioned Juan Martín de Pueyreddón governed the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata.

You can read more about Rivadavia's life on the conventionally interesting SciELO and its relevant Spanish page - concerning the museum it's important to mention since Rivadavia had interest in natural sciences, he visualized a museum in the capital for the subject. The preparations and constructions were severely hindered by the independence endeavours having higher priorities in those years, nonetheless the draft written in 1812 was finally approved by Martín Rodriguez, the governor of the Buenos Aires Province that time.

Rivadavia expelled the Dominican order in 1822 from the Convento de Santo Domingo and on its loft-type attic in 1826 started to establish the museum. The exhibition items grew well nicely during the years, in the beginning you could see 800 animal and 1,500 mineral specimens. Further the institute earned an international echo, Italian and Prussian scientists also worked on the development of the museum. The first director of the museum was the Italian Carlos Ferraris.

13 years later the already mentioned Juan Manuel de Rosas seized the power and this caused grave changes in the history of the museum. Although Rosas was a devoted believer, he didn't see any logical sommersault between the fraternal attitude and a totalitarianism utilizing an alternative police too.
Probably one could put next to Rosas, he didn't use the religion as a coat for his own goals - he was only this much concurrently ambitious and godfearing by nature.
The relevant information to our story, Rosas in the October of 1835 had the Dominicans return and left the museum abandoned. The employees tried to rescue what could be rescued, took one part the specimens and scientific devices into the close other buildings - the rest vanished in the chaos.

Rosas' career ended in the February of 1852, later the museum had its new place in the Manzana de las Luces - Illuminated Block until 1937, when it was moved again next to the Parque Cententario resembling a football, to the building you can visit nowadays. The restoration of the museum happened under the hands of the German zoologist Hermann Burmeister, his job was so great that Burmeister returned to Buenos Aires in 1857 and was appointed as the director in 1862.

Since then the museum nicely multiplies from paleontology through nowadays flora and fauna to the minerals, it gives an insight into the world of natural sciences for all ages. If you're in Buenos Aires, it's recommended to leave the downtown and dare to venture farther for a few hours: follow the red B underground, you need to get off at the Angel Gallardo stop. You can visit the museum every day but only between 2pm and 7pm (the entrance fee costs 15 pesos).

Should the below protagonists seem familiar or déja-vu explodes: that's not a coincidence. See Mar del Plata and Neuquén traveldiaries.
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The emblem of Shell.
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The spiral of the Ammonite.
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The Austroraptor cabazai - Southern Thief - was a bipedal, bird-like Dromaeosauridae about 70 million years ago in the late Cretaceous period. If we're seeking the ancestors of the Austroraptor, then at one point we must find a Velociraptor and a bird parent in the family-tree.

This thought sounds just as strange as the chicken turtle - nonetheless Austroraptor is the known biggest example of the Dromaeosauridae: it had an about 5 mts length. The remains were discovered in 2002 in the Allen Formation of the Río Negro province, the specific name was given after Héctor Tito Cabaza paleontologist, the founder of the Museo Paleontológico de Lamarque. There's some dissonance with the data, some places call him as Albert but it's possible he had two first names as it's common in the Spanish customs.

The typical narrow and long skull of the Austroraptor could grow up to 80 cms. Its teeth were similar to the nowaday crocodiles: short, cone and razor like teeth helped the carnivore eating habits of the the animal.

Lil' polka here...lil' polka there... ;D
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The beautiful killing bird.
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The musculous legged Carnotaurus sastrei.
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The playful herbivore Amargasaurus cazaui.
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The Abelisauridae were the most common dinosaurs of Patagonia in the Cretaceous period back to 83 million years ago. The below Abelisaurus comahuensis is also a prominent member of the genus. The fossils were found in the Comahue region of the Río Negro province, in the bank of the artificial Lago Pellegrini close to Neuquén. Roberto Abel the Argentine historiographer and paleontologist discovered the remains, and Fernando Novas and José Bonaparte named and desribed the classification in 1985.

9 mts long muscular body, carnivore habit, 85 cms long skull - some of the overwhelming parameters of the Abelisaurus comahuensis. One of the special characteristics of the skull are the natural fenestras which helped to reduce the weight of the skull without structural weakening.
d01_09 (2015-01-25 15:12:18) -- show location on Google Maps
Femur de Saurópodo / POR FAVOR NO SENTARSE
This is a femur of a Sauropoda.
This ain't no bench, don't sit down.
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The more dangerous in group but alone neither friendly Pianitzkysaurus floresi.

After the 7. picture, now we didn't only loose a security guard but also an incautious visitor.
d01_11 (2015-01-25 15:14:53) -- show location on Google Maps
The Patagosaurus fariasi was an eusauropoda which lived in the Middle Jurassic period about 165 million years ago. The remains were discovered in the 1970s, close to the Cerro Condor in the Chubut province; José Bonaparte did the naming and description in 1979. The genus comes from the Patagonian locality, the specific name salutes to Don Ricardo Farias, the owner of the land where the remains were found. The exhibition item didn't get next to the Pianitzkysaurus by random, both were found in the Cañadon Asfalto Formation along with others.

Likewise to the other Sauropods, Patagosaurus was also huge with a 15 mts long body and about 8-16 tons weight. As an amiable herbivore its diet mainly consisted araucaria which were abundant in the Jurassic period of Patagonia.
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d01_13 (2015-01-25 15:23:23) -- show location on Google Maps
Antiguos pobladores del territorio argentino - The native inhabitants of the Argentine territories
During the Great American Interchange the human race was one of the last which wandered from North America to the southern continent in the Piacenzian period. At this moment we don't have accurate knowledge when did the first human groups arrive, but before the interchange about 10,000 years earlier humans already lived on the Argentine territories. These groups possibly lived in a hunterer society, of which pretty much actually all the big herbivores became extinct, species like the mastodons and megatheriums.

Later these natives were defeated and shooed away by newly arrived tribes and groups of people - some time later the European conquistadors set their feet as well.

It's being said, the origin of the earthly remains seen in the exhibition so far hasn't been identified, because none of them belongs to any ancestors of the currently known natives.

Una teória controvertida - A controversial theory
Florentino Ameghino was the first Argentine director of the museum from 1902. He was also among the first scientists who researched the early inhabitants of the Americas, their economy and culture. Furthermore based on the unique fossils and wrong period definition, Ameghino did an erroneous conclusion saying humanity evolved in South America. He still defended his theory fiercely, when those days already had evidences that the origins of humanity belong to Africa.

Nonetheless Ameghino likewise to Charles Darwin had revolutionary theories of those times - in this case something which current science also agrees with: he believed humans aren't direct descendants of the monkeys but both species evolved separately yet from a common ancestor.
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The smilodon of Buenos Aires.
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2 tons Glyptodon.
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The Arctotherium was a short-faced bear in the Pleistocene. Their ancestors arrived to South America around 1.7 million years ago, possibly during the Great American Interchange. Remains were found in Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina.

With the exception of the Arctotherium wingei, the all other four genus of the Arctotherium were found on the Pampas of Argentina. These bears were huge, had about 300 and 1,200 kgs weight depending on the genus and the sex. The size of the animals also depended on the period they lived in, for instance the members in the Ensenadense (Early and Middle Pleistocene) were bigger than in the Bonaerense and Lujanense (Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene) where the individuals were already smaller.

One of the latest discoveries happened close to Mar del Plata, three specimen were found: one adult female and two cubs from the Arctotherium angustidens genus. The fossils were found during an excavation of a cave, which would indicate the Arctotherium used caves as refuge - these were dug out by giant herbivores like the Glossotherium and the Scelidotherium.

Much to surprise, humanity has only indirect responsibility in the extinction of the Arctotherium: the disappearance of the big herbivores and the later arrived jaguars, lions and smilodons caused the ultimate fate of this Ursidae.
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6 mts and 5 tons, still a herbivore Megatherium.
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Some characters of the Argentine history.
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Human, Australopithecus, chimpanzee; from left to the right.
d01_23 (2015-01-25 15:51:39) -- show location on Google Maps
Water world.
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Mineral world.
d01_25 (2015-01-25 15:59:43) -- show location on Google Maps
Hey, this is familiar!
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About 4-5,000 years ago, at the border of the nowadays Chaco and Santiago del Estero provinces the Campo de Cielo meteorite shower hit the Earth. Below you can see El Toba, the third biggest meteorite of the group.

The iron meteorite was found in November of 1923. It weighs 4210 kg, mostly consists iron and has a 7% nickel content. Scientists also found cobalt, sulphur, phosphor, carbon (graphite), tin, silicium, magnesium and calcium.

Just recalled this, best dashcam.
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d01_28 (2015-01-25 16:10:37) -- show location on Google Maps
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