Traveldiaries: 2015-03-08_LaPlata
2015-03-08_LaPlata
In La Plata once more. The motivation of present pleasure isn't audiophile but aims science and architecture.
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Destination La Plata
Reaching the Museum of La Plata is terribly easy, you can do it by a cab, rented car or microbus - fearless warriors and ready to fight against cumbia people need to reach the final stop of the blue subte line and from the railway station with similar Constitución name, the visitors in about 2 hours + following a little walk find themselves at the entrance.
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You can enter the museum Tuesday-Sunday between 10am and 6pm, the entrance fee costs 6 pesos. Additionally you have to pay 2 extra mangos for the photo permit (I didn't see anyone who would check this but people who want to take photos respect the rules and the humongous extra damage).

Shall we start in the beginning, few lines about the building. The construction started in 1884 under the supervision of the Swiss architect Enrique Aberg and the German engineer Carlos Heynemann. The inauguration took place 4 years later in 1888, sanctified by Carlos D´Amico then governor of the Buenos Aires Province.

The big European museums inspired style of the biggest museum of natural sciences in South America, for instance the British Museum in London, the Glyptothek in München or the Altes Museum in Berlin.



The building has a Neo-Classic style and follows the shape of the conception continuous research of the South American territories and their living beings. The unique, elliptic layout represents the theory of evolution, which also the founder of the museum Perito Moreno himself believed. The bending rooms mimic the arch of a trajectory, herewith from the inanimate period of the early years, the visitor learns outright to the evolution of mankind.

While walking to the top of the stairs two Smilodon, also known as saber-toothed cat welcome the guests; Víctor de Pol an Italian-Argentine sculptor created the statues. The ornamentation of the façade follows the harmonies of Greek style along with Pre-Columbian themes. You can see the oil paintings of the most famous painters of the time in the main lounge.

There are four floors, a mezzanine in the building, the available halls and rooms give place to exhibitions, laboratories, offices, studios, library, lecture hall and further personnel and operative places. In 1906 the museum merged with the University of La Plata to also make place for academic education. In 1997 the building was declared as a national monument.
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Let's not waste the time, flip out the whip, the horse carriage is ready to set out to Patagonia! Upon arrival you can find Francisco Pascasio Moreno, the founder of the museum. By this exact name one might not recognize him but those who have been in El Calafate immediately recall the Perito Moreno glacier: the word perito means experienced, which upon seeing Moreno's life is an accurate attribute and first name. He was born in 1852 into a patrician family from Buenos Aires and even from early years he showed great interest toward the nature, also picked up the education into this direction. The possibility of recognition arrived in 1872: this year the Sociedad Científica Argentina, Argentine Scientific Society was established and Moreno travelled to Carmen de Patagones, the southernmost tip of the Buenos Aires Province to carry some archeological discovery to the capital for further investigation.

The spirit of the environment and the science completely enchanted him, thus while the soldiers step-by-step advanced toward south and drew the border in the Conquest of the Desert operation, Moreno and his team followed them and did the scientific interpretation of the land. The acknowledgement of creating the first charts of the Río Negro, Chubut and Neuquén provinces goes to him - for instance Moreno gave the name Robert Fitz Roy to one of the most prominent peaks of Patagonia, which you can find close to El Chaltén.

Moreno's travels besides their geologic and cartographic achievements also had political importance. Since he pretty much travelled the whole eastern side of The Andes, with this knowledge and an another expedition in 1879 he could support the Argentine claim with scientific evidences against Chile in the international debate about the whereabouts of the border.

His scientific achievements and the discovery of the country raised Moreno into the pantheon of the most important Argentine scientists. During his travels he collected numerous anthropological, geological, cultural and further evidences, some of them you can see in the Bernardino Rivadavia Museum of Natural Sciences of Buenos Aires. Noting some of the others the carriage already arrived to the Museum of La Plata which opened the gates in 1888. Not for any surprise, the first director was Moreno himself who acted in this role until 1906. Moreno in his later years undertook some political career and died on the 22nd of November 1919.
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Human, orangutan, gorilla, chimpanzee; from the left to the right.
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Mboi in person.
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Batman ain't gonna be happy.
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A picture which explains even to the non-professionals why males and females are similar yet different at the same time.
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An anecdote to the beginning of the 2000. If you had had the luck, it was worthwhile to follow Kevin Brauch's Thirsty Traveler leisurely entertaining TV show about the most or lesser known alcoholic beverages of the world, along some meals with them.

Chicha is dangerous.
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An another very illustrious Argentine scientist will be the next topic, Florentino Ameghino has already been mentioned in the Bernardino Rivadavia Museum. Likewise to Moreno also Ameghino belonged to the famous Generation 80: the period of the 1880 was one of the most important periods of Argentina, together in all aspects of science, politics, social life, economy and others. Opinions differ about this era - not only because of the Conquest of the Desert but the notion of positivism in practice was more an elitist power arrangement without leaving room for debate. In one way or another, one probably could put next to the period the rise of Argentina, for instance the European immigrants revved up the economy which put Argentina among the wealthiest countries in the beginning of the 1900s.

Ameghino was born in 1854 in Luján and started the profession as a self-educated naturalist, focusing his attention toward the eastern Pampas. His official position was school teacher but likewise to many scientists of the 19. century, Ameghino's passion was also the natural sciences, especially paleontology. He spent the majority of his life with extending and analysing his immensive fossil collection, which helped a lot to understand the evolution and phylogenetics of the South American vertebrates and mammals in the Cenozoic Era; his book Filogenia was released in 1884.

A controversial theory
Ameghino believed in the theory of autochthonism while he sought the origin of mankind during his researches: according to the theory, a creature evolved in the location where it can be found. Hence according to Ameghino the first inhabitants of the continent didn't immigrate but the population evolved in South America - also the immigration of the other continents started from here. The theory logically could be defended, also the years' long researches gave a significant professional knowledge to Ameghino - yet the theory wasn't proved in practice, also neither the profession accepted it.
For instance in 1908 an another famous anthropologist, the Czech Aleš Hrdlička refused Ameghino's Homus pampeanus (Man of the Pampas) theory with the following arguments:
  • the stratum where the bones were found doesn't belong to the Cenozoic but the Quaternary Period.
  • the bones belong to American monkeys and felines, the human bones are from later times.
  • no international bridges existed in the Cenozoic which could connect America with the Old World; therefore the human groups wouldn't be able to spread on the other continents.
To make the picture complete, Hrdlička in turn located the origin of humanity into Central Europe.
Regardless to the wrong theory Ameghino's professional accomplishments are significant, they belong to the most important knowledge sources concerning the South American paleontology and zoology. The similar job and scope of interest, the era and their achievements rowed both Ameghino and Moreno onto the same waters, in 1886 Moreno appointed Ameghino as the deputy director of the La Plata Museum. The scientist died in 1911 in Buenos Aires because of diabetes.
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At first, I found the idea silly. I thought how much resemblance does this plate bear with the ones in the medical offices of the 19-20. centuries - then I realized paleontology isn't that far from the operating table.
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panorama01
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You can also see guests in the museum, for example the about 75 million years old skull of a Centrosaurus from the Cretaceous Period found in the Canadian city Alberta. The discovery goes to Lawrence Lambe a Canadian geologist and paleontologist, also himself described the animal in 1904.

The Centrosaurus lived in herds, were herbivore and due to the imposing frill they could pose very seductively.
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Ladies and Gentlemen! Let's welcome our next guest from North America with loud applause, the real, the only one ... *snare of drums* ... Tyrannosaurus Rex!!!
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One part of the femur of the Argentinosaurus huinculensis.
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You can see an Iguanodon bernissartensis lived about 126 - 125 million years ago around Belgium of that time. The credits go to the English geologist Gideon Mantell who found the remains of the animal in 1822 thus also winning the title One of the first discoverers of dinosaur fossils. This age was the cradle of the dinosaur hunting, the first specification of the Dinosauria clad started from the Iguanodon, the Megalosaurus and the Hylaeosaurus genus.

The individuals of the Iguanodon genus were large herbivores, they could walk on 2 or 4 feet. Their distinctive features were the large thumb spikes which the animal could use for defence or digging out the food.
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An another dinosaur guest in the house, you can see a Bradysaurus baini straight from South Africa and the Karoo semi-desert natural region. The dry, arid territories of the world always have great chances of hiding paleontology remains, thus in 1882 while Harry Seeley explored the Tapinocephalus zone, he discovered this animal which is also the type species for the genus.

The Bradysaurus lived in the Middle Permian Period, had large body (3.5mts length, 500-1,000kg weight) and were guileless herbivore dinosaurs. The body size had multiple advantages, for example helped to regulate the body temperature, also with the scute armour provided somewhat protection against the predators, like the members of the Gorgonopsidae family.
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Peter Parker, this would bite you, you stay down. In other words, The Spider-Man series would have been shorter.
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Some findings of the Ischigualasto Hollow, the name and location shall return in a future traveldiary.
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The discovery of the Kapper Meteorite also goes to Perito Moreno, who found it on the 4th of April 1896 in the Chubut region. The iron meteorite weighs 114 kilograms and has already been among the first exhibition items since the opening of the museum.
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Where you can find dinosaurs, you can find oil too.
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Returning back to local waters, the femurs of an Antarctosaurus wichmannianus are below. The cunning name brings unfortunate disappointment, it doesn't have any connection to the Antarctica: built from the Greek words anti - arktos having the meaning against the North reflecting to the southern location of discovery.

The German-Argentine Ricardo Wichmann found the remains of the Antarctosaurus wichmannianus in 1929. The 83 - 80 million years old bones were found in the Anacleto Formation which is one part of the Río Negro Province. The parameters of the animal are overwhelming even among the biggest and known dinosaurs - isn't that hard to believe seeing the 1.85mts long femurs. Their body could grow up to 18 meters and weighed about 34 tons which they maintained with herbivore eating habits how generally the Titanosaurs did.
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The North American challenger of Argentinosaurus huinculensis
How it was mentioned in the Neuquén traveldiary, Argentinosaurus is a quite probable winner in the contest of the longest known dinosaurs but he's been defied whose name is Diplodocus carnegii; if we omit the currently disqualified Amphicoelias genus by the business. Benjamin Franklin Mudge and S. W. Williston found the first remains in 1877 in Cañon City, but the below you can see is from the Jurassic Period and reached the sunlit surface in Wyoming.

By the latest measuring the Diplodocus had a 33 mts long body and weight about 10 and 16 tons. One of specific features was the long tail which the animal could use for various purposes: as a whip for self-defence or making noises but after all it could serve as a counterweight to support the also long neck.

Tyrannosaurus Rex of the 1900s
The discovery of the Diplodocus and tycoon Andrew Carnegie's philanthropy elevated the members of this genus to the most popular dinosaurs of the time. The below replica of the original CM 84 finding arrived to Argentina in 1912 from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History after President Roque Sáenz Peña's request. Dr. W.J. Holland carried out the installation.
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Strolling to the first floor, historical-cultural exhibition items. First, some Jesuit relics.
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NO TOCAR / PIEZA ORIGINAL
Translation:
Don't fuck with it.
Original finding, not only a replica.
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Look behind my back, our Earth, evolutionism-creationism, whoever likes whichever.
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Anew room from the already mentioned Pre-Columbian, as known as the age before Columbus and the colonization; you can see some objects of the most known Middle and South American Indian tribes.
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It seems the Tilcara weather baffled others camera too.
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I recognize art immed...wait-wait! I don't have medical degree but those breasts are anatomically surely well positioned?
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Historical fragments from the shore of the Nile
Returning to Africa, Aksha was a temple and small village on the border of the today Sudan and Egypt, on the territory of the late Nubia. Ramesses II. built the temple around 1250 AD obeying the general communication methods with the gods and to please Amun.

Between 1961 and 1963 with the UNESCO and local archeologists, an Argentine-French collaborate excavation happened in the location. The scientists had 4 years to preserve and escape the antique values, because from 1960 the construction of the Aswan Dam had started. The dam has provided multiple advantages and help to Egypt - but the construction required to inundate the area. Happiness in disguise, some memories of the former times could be saved, they were moved to a different location.

Due to the help and labour, the Museum of La Plata received 300 findings from the excavation: 60 pertains to the temple of Ramesses II., additionally an Egyptian tomb and some other ancient evidences and remains of graveyards from the vicinity.
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Real sarcophagus with real mummies.

These below 2,700 years old sarcophagus and mummies also belong to the Egyptology exhibition, their origin goes back to the Museum of Antiquities of Boulaq (the current Egyptian Museum). Dardo Rocha bought the mummies around 1900 and he donated them to the museum.

You can see three sarcophagus, one belongs to the Ptolemaic dynasty, the rest are from the Late Period of the ancient Egypt.
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The musical instruments of a metal band from the 16-17. centuries.
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I admit, the outcome didn't manage to be slightly but kitschy, but the Explorer guitar looks good!
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The currently known last stairs of the human evolution: Homo ergaster (Homo erectus is the more popular name), Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens.
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Only the inner values are important.
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Ancient curiosities of the medical sciences; in spite of the primeval tools, some of the patients survived the early brain surgeries.
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Present, at some part female devices of witchcraft.
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Walking toward the Observatory
Alas, the employee of the museum didn't know if it's open today, the hamburger and pancho seller said it is.
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Well, it was closed but the refreshing short walk in the park was nice.
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Again at the Cathedral
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Late lunch - early dinner - not afternoon snack
There are always some place of correction, therefore the Argentine milanesa (Wiener schnitzel) is sometimes gold and crispy.

The mayonnaise-ketchup-mustard miniSacks, those I still seriously abhor in the proximity of this meal.
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I ingested a cheese-bacon burger for the reason of energy refilling before the Metallica concert in this Burger King. You're welcome.
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The Plaza Italia in La Plata at dawn.
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8th of March. On Women's Day, against the violence.
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Conclusion
Right during the welding of the traveldiary I already had a revolving and returning déjà-vu in my mind. Not because of the obvious reasons that I've already seen the most distinguished members of the museum in other places - it was rather a some kind of comparison of the museums with similar interests here and in the capital. Like Purmamarca vs. Humahuaca, as known as The Battle of the Hill of Seven Colours and the Hill of Fourteen Colours.

Although it's smaller but neither the Bernardino Rivadavia Museum in the capital needs to feel ashamed, it offers a pleasant Saturday afternoon entertainment. My sufficiently deep curiosity to discover the depths is yet to happen but around the park and especially on the weekends you can find some flea market which may turn into further joy for the interested - otherwise strolling among the one-storied Almagro houses and sitting out for a coffee will be also a nice relaxing.

Likewise to the Fourteen Colours, the Museum of La Plata is clearly bigger, has more rooms and exhibition items and welcomes the visitors with more information - offering a terrific whole-day Sunday program to discover La Plata.
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