On September 2, 2018, the National Museum of Brazil (Museu Nacional) was gutted by fire. The loss has hit the paleontology community (and the larger museum community) hard. I will highlight over the next few days some of the many priceless specimens that have been lost.
This year, the Museu Nacional celebrated its 200th year. I am hopeful all is not lost.
Lapa Vermelha IV Hominid 1, informally referred to as Luzia, was discovered in 1975 in a rock shelter locality near Belo Horizonte, Brazil, by a French and Brazilian team led by Annette Laming-Emperaire. At the time, Laming-Emperaire felt that this was among the oldest human remains found in South America.
Modern dating methods confirm that Luzia died about 10,030 ± 60 14C yr BP (11,243–11,710 cal BP), making her the oldest Brazilian paleoindian (Fontugne, 2013).
Luzia’s facial features are quite different from those of other Native Americans of known Siberian origins, suggesting that her people may have immigrated to the Americas separately from other Native peoples.
Laming-Emperaire, A. (1979). Missions archéologiques franco-brésiliennes de Lagos Santa, Minas Gerais, Brésil – Le grand abri de Lapa Vermelha (P.L.). Rev. Pré-Hist. 1: 53-89.