Researchers hope famed skull survived Brazil museum fire

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The museum housed one of the largest anthropology and natural history collections in the Americas.

Riot police fired tear gas outside the park housing the museum on Monday as a small, irate crowd tried to enter.

"This fire is what Brazilian politicians are doing to the people", said Rosana Hollanda, a 35-year-old high school history teacher, who was crying. (Ricardo Moraes) There had been no accidents reported after a colossal fire gutted Rio de Janeiro's Nationwide Museum on Sunday, however the toll became peaceable giant. Did you take a photo of any of them?

Firefighters combing the ruins Tuesday found some bones and fragments of a skull, renewing hopes that the museum's main item, a 12,000-year-old skeleton known as "Luzia", may have survived, according to The Guardian. As workers searched the wreckage of the museums, they learned that one other iconic love, an passe iron meteorite found by an 18th-century Brazilian cattle herder, had survived the flames.

Huge collections of feather work and masks from indigenous peoples of South America were also consumed in the fire, as well as pottery and artefacts of a culture that made shell mounds along what is now Brazil's Atlantic Coast for thousands of years.

The protesters were later allowed to surround the museum's perimeter in a symbolic "embrace".

Signs of disrepair were evident: The fencing was dilapidated, stonework was cracked and lawns appeared untended. "They're burning our history, and they're burning our dreams".

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The museum's budget had fallen from around $130,000 in 2013 to around $84,000 previous year, according to Marcio Martins, a spokesman for the museum. However, over the last three years it has received 60 percent or less of this amount.

The museum's vice director, Luiz Duarte, told Globo TV the institution had been neglected by successive federal governments. Tellingly, at one point the museum had to crowdfund money to fix the base of one of its dinosaur fossils.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), as well as French and Egyptian officials, have offered financial and technical assistance towards the museum reparations.

Roberto Robadey, a spokesman for the fire department, said firefighters got off to a slow start fighting the blaze because the two fire hydrants closest to the museum were not functioning. But museum officials point to a long legacy of budget cuts and neglect. Yet, while there are fire alarms everywhere, automatic sprinklers are not recommended in a cultural institution: "The worst damage from a fire typically comes from water rather than fire", Semal said. Serejo said that smoke detectors were not working.

"It's as if the Metropolitan Museum of Art burned down", he said.

"Let this free us from the ignorance that fails to appreciate culture, science and our national identity", he wrote on Twitter. Brazil's super-rich have no interest in anything other than what they can own, pouring their money into helicopters that fly them over the country's favelas to their offices in Rio and Sao Paulo and into Miami real estate and the global stock markets.

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