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Michael Greshko @michaelgreshko
, 11 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
THREAD: I just got an update from one of the #MuseuNacional's curators, Débora Pires, on the current status of the collections. Here's what we know has been lost, what we know has been saved, and what's still unknown. #LutoMuseuNacional 1/
The entire entomological collection, some 5 million specimens, has been lost. They were in the palace, the main building. 2/
The entire arachnology collection has also been lost, as has much of the mollusk collection. However, 80% of the mollusk holotypes (the specimens that formally serve as the global reference for a given species) survived. 3/
All other invertebrates are safe: "...more than 100,000 lots, including a large, rich and valuable collection of deep-sea invertebrates, including specimens collected deeper than 3000m depth, from off Brazilian coast, South Atlantic Mid Atlantic Ridge, [and] other oceans." 4/
All the vertebrate collections (herpetology, ichthyology, mastozoology, ornithology) are safe. This alone represents 460,000 specimens, including 5,000 holotypes. 5/
The herbarium (550,000 dried specimens) and library (>500,000 titles, 2,000 rare titles) are also safe. Pires: "The safe collections were in other buildings. They still are an invaluable treasure and if we had that alone would be also a great Museum!" 6/
As for other palace items, damage still unclear. The building held collections for ethnology, ethnography, linguistics, geology and paleontology, as well as 5,000 exhibition pieces and the Francisca Keller Library, one of Brazil's most important libraries on social sciences. 7/
Likely a lot of damage, per Pires: "Certainly a lot is lost, but we still can not estimate." 8/
When I talked to @paleotaissa on Monday, she pointed out that some of the metal cabinets containing paleo specimens had survived the fire. Perhaps some specimens inside withstood the heat, but it's not a given. Intense heat can muck with fossils in many ways. 9/
Pires also points out that the museum still has its master's and doctoral programs in social anthropology, archaeology, botany, geosciences, linguistics, and zoology. "...[T]he brains did not burn. We are working with a positive agenda!" 10/
That's all I have for now. If you have any updates on the collections' status, let me know!
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