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Brazil is the largest meteorite, other artifacts, survive massive fire

People save items during a fire at the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 2, 2018. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes – RC1E3E218990

The largest meteorite, and a few other notable artifacts survived the catastrophic fire that destroyed the National Museum of Brazil on Sunday.

The Bendegó meteorite, the largest ever found in Brazil, survived the fire, Space.com reported. It is one of about a dozen meteorites that were part of the collection of the museum, prior to the fire.

The space rock was found near the city of Monte Santo, in the Brazilian state of Bahia, in 1784, Space.com added. He weighs about 11,600 pounds and is made of iron and nickel.

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According to the museum, the description of the meteorite, it was originally supposed to be transported to Brazil’s capital, but wound up falling from the wooden cart that was used to transport and crashed into a stream. It remained in the stream for another century, when Brazil’s Emperor Pedro II was the meteorite moved to the museum. It has been on display since 1888.

Other items are recovered, the officials said, including bone fragments from a collection, raising hopes that a famous skull might somehow have survived a huge blaze that changed historical and scientific artifacts in the ashes.

The firefighters “found fragments of bones in the room where the museum held many items, including skulls,” said Cristiana Serejo, the museum’s deputy director. “We still have to collect them and take them to the lab to know exactly what they are.”

In the collection of approximately 20 million items, one of the most prized possessions is a skull called Luzia, which are among the oldest fossils ever found in south America.

Museum spokesman Marcio Martins noted that the collection contains hundreds of skulls, and all the material would first need to be examined by the Federal Police, that the investigation of the still unknown cause of the fire. Experts examine to determine their identity.

The researchers were first allowed in the main building on Monday, but it is still outside the limits of the researchers. Instead, some scientists were focusing on an annex on the site, where vertebrate animals were housed. The fire to the area, but it caused the electricity to fail, threatening a number of artifacts.

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“We have animals that need to be frozen, and they rot without electricity,” said Marcelo Wexler, a researcher in the vertebrate section.

Even if the efforts are enabled to search in the rubble, firefighters were still occasionally the water in the building, where some embers were still burning. Eduardo Red light, a fire official, said it was normal for a storm of this magnitude.

Luiz Fernando Dias Duarte, a museum official, said Monday that everything is held in the main building was probably destroyed, and Serejo told the G1 news portal that 90 percent of the collection are destroyed.

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But on Tuesday, she held little hope, told journalists that the employees were “fairly optimistic about finding a more items inside.”

She added that UNESCO, the U. N. cultural agency, had offered financial and technical assistance. French and Egyptian officials have also offered help. The museum is the home of the Egyptian artifacts, and the egyptian ministry of foreign affairs and antiquities have expressed concern about the fate of these objects.

The cause is still under investigation, many have already begun to resolve the debt, saying years of government neglect left the museum underfunded and unsafe.

Roberto Leher, vice-chancellor of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, where the museum was connected, said that it was known that the building was vulnerable to fire and in need of extensive repair. In fact, the establishment had recently secured approval for nearly $5 million for a planned renovation, including an upgrade of the fire-prevention system, but the money has not yet been paid.

On Monday, the government pledged $2.4 million to shore up the building and promised for the reconstruction of the museum.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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