The discovery of fossil remains in Cerritos Bayos, proves the existence of the most lethal marine predator of the Jurassic era.

in December 2018, when a group of researchers from the Ring Network of the University of Chile and the Museum of Natural and Cultural History of the Atacama Desert, a unit dependent on the Corporation of Culture and Tourism of Calama, began a cadastre to determine the presence of large fossil marine vertebrates in the sector called “Cerros Bayos”, south of the city of Calama, The maximum existing registry of marine reptiles and other species that lived more than 150 million years ago.

As a result of these surveys, it was possible to determine the presence of a Pliosaur which cannot yet be specified piece by piece. However, it is possible to determine a fin and part of the skull that have already been confirmed. The researchers are optimistic in a process that should culminate in the extraction and transfer to the MUHNCAL deposit for study, cleaning, and subsequent exhibition. “The contribution of this finding, both at the scientific level and for the community is unique, since each of the species found provides new information to reconstruct the past of our commune and understand how the species evolve,” says the paleontology specialist at Muhncal Jennyfer Rojas Museum.

In reconstruction, Calama has gained prominence in recent times, after it was found that far from being a desert area as it is known today, it was formerly covered by sea and, therefore, was the habitat of a series of amazing species. But although these features have changed, due to the elevation of the Andes, it allows the appearance of remains of prehistoric fauna that remained hidden due to erosion, and that today make it one of the richest areas for paleontological research in Chile.

Determined the presence of the fin and skull of this significant species, it can be deduced that it could have reached up to 10 meters in length, which inhabited the jurassic seas, and its categorization as corresponding to a pliosaur, by initial taxonomic studies, it can be deduced that it could have reached up to 10 meters in length, and given its characteristics as supradeprador, of food chain scheme.

Given the heritage value of the pieces found, the extraction process involves completely removing the fragile rock and then transporting it to extract the fossil bones in the laboratory. Special attention is given to this finding, as there are no records of pliosaurs for this area and the result of this exhaustive work carried out by renowned national and foreign researchers, indicates the existence of unknown fauna for the territory, presenting once again Calama city as one of the most important fossil vertebrate fauna registration area in South America.



A great announcement was the statement quoted by the renowned actor in social networks, Researchers evaluated with optimism and satisfaction the message, as it greatly contributes to the awareness of the urgent care required by the species.

The rescue of the last specimens of the Telmatobius dankoi was published recently. These species known as “frogs of the Loa”, were found in precarious conditions, after an intervention in their habitat, that kept the slope which fed them dry.

Therefore, in a quick operation, researchers from the Museum of Natural History and Culture of the Atacama Desert in Calama, University of Chile, and Ministry of Environment, went to the place to protect the species that survived. Subsequently, they were taken to the National Amphibian Reproduction Center of the National Zoo, with the objective of keeping them safe, while restoring the conditions to reinsert them in the Loa wetlands.

One of the most significant part of the message left by the actor stated, “The Chilean Government and a team of conservationists have done an incredible job responding quickly to try to rescue the frog from the Loa from extinction,”. Leonardo published the comment on Thursday and it was seconded by an infographic with suggested measures to citizenship.

From the MUHNCAL, the palaeontology specialist Jennyfer Rojas who participated in the operation, looks forward to the intervention to be successful, since raising awareness about the rescues can avoid such drastic situations, as the one that had an endemic species on the verge of extinction. “His comments are pretty normal to us, since he has had a trajectory dedicated to the care of the environment, investing resources in it. In the same way it makes us very happy as a team that our work is praised, more than by the actor, by the environmentalist, and all people, ”says the researcher, inviting the community to join the crusade promoted by DiCaprio in social networks, under the hashtag #SaveTheLoaFrog “, or #SalvemosalaRanadelLoa.

The actor’s message considered the following actions to support the rescue, prohibiting the illegal extraction of water from the habitat by restoring and protecting it and declaring the area as protected zona, and conserving all the other species of frogs in Chile.”



Remaining these visits to educational institution and organizations of Calama and Alto Loa, the Museum of Natural and Cultural History of the Atacama Desert arrived for the first time a nursery school.

The program in charge of the Museum of Natural and Cultural History of the Atacama Desert (Muhncal), called “The Museum visits your School” arrived at the Planet Earth garden with the exhibition “Dinosaurs of the Northern Chile ” which goal is exposing the geological past of our province exhibiting replicas of some species of these large reptiles that inhabited our region.

“The Museum visits your School Program” aims to educate the community about the knowledge and conservation of local heritage, seeks to motivate the knowledge of the Mesosoic dinosaurs and reptiles of the past through questions and didactic introductions, thereby achieving children acquire knowledge about our past in a fun way

Regarding the exhibition, Osvaldo Rojas, director of the Muhncal, stated that “ There are children who dominate the topic of dinosaurs quite well, even in some cases exceeding in many aspects the knowledge of our specialists since it is a very striking subject, hence the models that we use in this exhibition are large. Our goal is to seek children feel part of the sample, take photographs and have fun by playing and sharing this information, that sometimes can be very dense.

This program, which began in May of this year, has already visited 12 educational institutions, in addition to social organizations in Calama and Alto Loa, with more visits expected during the current year. “Recently we were at the Teletón Institute since we are looking for inclusion in learning, and we have also visited Chiuchiu, the Caspana Valley and Lasana. On the other hand, we have plans to go down to the coastal region, which we have already done in previous years, but we are currently focusing on visiting children in preschool education,” added Osvaldo Rojas.

“The Museum visits your School” program and the Muhncal constantly receives delegations from communal schools and high schools for guided tours. Here, museum specialists explain the latest researched subjects and recent discoveries, with the aim of a better understanding of the importance and value of their territory. These guided tours are held every Thursday and Friday and can be requested to the museum.

Osvaldo Rojas Mondaca Museum Director and Heritage and Museums Supervisor of the Culture and Tourism Corporation of Calama.

Osvaldo Rojas Mondaca Museum Director and Heritage and Museums Supervisor of the Culture and Tourism Corporation of Calama.


Today is an expected day where an eternal connection between our museum and its public begins. We welcome our young students who will fulfil the motivational elements to consolidate, their commitment and identity with this wonderful territory we habit.

Our mission is to narrate about the wonderful secrets of Calama and environment, its unknown enigmas about the Jurassic era, billions of years ago and the unusual extinct inhabitants such as the Pliosaurus and Plesiosaurus, which left their story etched in their bones. Calama was not absent from the so-called “Ice Age”; In this era, large and curious mammals populated these lands until the end of the Pleistocene. The presence of humans and their cultural developments, in the conquest of the most arid regions of the world, our Atacama Desert. This amazing story, which is still being developed, will be communicated through this digital tool.

We want to thank deeply all those who help us to realize this cultural proposal and allow us to reconstruct this fantastic story. Thanks for your trust and help, especially to Mr. Daniel Agusto Pérez Mayor of Calama, the distinguished Municipal Council, the Executive Director of the Corporation of Culture and Tourism Mrs. Evelyn Pizarro Peña and our colleagues and collaborators. It is necessary to highlight the support of the local companies who are permanently supporting and believing in this work, Mainstream and Codelco North Division. Mining Contract Society El Abra Freeport-McMoRan Freeport-McMoRanand the academic institutions such as University of Chile, University of Antofagasta, Catholic North University, to government agencies, the Ministry of Arts and Culture, to the Ministry of Environment, and all thoses who are part of this fantastic journey of reconstruction of the past, and the projection that we must look for in the future for our beloved land and its people.


Osvaldo Rojas Mondaca



With the aim of bringing science and culture to the community, and highlight the historical and geographical value of Calama, the Natural History Museum and Cultural the Atacama Desert, dependent Corporation of Culture and Tourism Calama , continuously receives visits, which average 3 5 0 people monthly.

Although samples are suitable for everyone, most visitors are student delegations from the 2nd region, accompanied by teachers who arrive at the museum in order to complement and deepen contents.

This is the case of the 4th A course of the “Escuela 21 de Mayo” (21th May School), which reached the premises of the institution at the end of August. “We came to reinforce what we are seeing in class with the students, in a way very motivating way for them, the experience is really good, because contextualize the theory from classes to an open reality “explains the teacher Adriana Puentes

The opinion of the teacher is shared by her students, who throughout the tour were very curious and excited. “I liked everything because it gives you a lot of knowledge. I suggest that all children come here to learn,” says Leonardo who is 10. His impressions are similar to those of his partner Abril, who regretted not having taken his cell phone to take pictures of everything. ” everything looks so nice! The birds, and especially the dinosaurs. I had never seen how they were so I want to return with my family, soon” declares the minor.

The interest expressed by the students, when visiting the rooms that encompass wonders of nature, mineralogy and land formation, Jurassic geology, Pleistocene and current fauna, is supported by an organized guided tour. “They come to discover and be impressed. The idea is that they are internalized, and that they also leave with concerns, which may lead them to become interested in any of these areas in the future. That is why we show these animals, which have been found now, after millions of years of permanence on our planet. The aim is that they see these advances and motivate them to contribute to the investigation also”, says Ana Vásquez, Head of Administration and Guide.

Therefore, with the idea of ​​enhancing curiosity based on a regional and personalized focus support, they are able to adapt each of the samples to the different audience attending. This action is valued by teachers, such as Gloria Álvarez, from “Andrés Bello School”, who along with other colleagues went to the museum with a group of 34 students from 1st grade. “We are working with all the elements of the northern zone, so we came up with the idea of ​​deepening it by looking specifically at those who live in our area. I did not know the museum, so I told the students to come and see animals, and as I have found dinosaurs, I am as fascinated as they are with this unique experience,” explains the Generalist Professor. “It is very effective and meaningful for them to be able to go out to the field, and see in a more practical way, everything we project as an image in the room since you live it in a different way”, she states.

Just like Gloria, her little students were amazed throughout the tour. “I really liked the Tyrannosaurus Rex. I’ve always imagined it, because I love it and here, I saw it and I could learn more from it. That is why I would recommend other children to come and find things that existed many years ago, such as minerals, for example,” says Fernando, 6 years old.

The invitation he extends is backed by his partner Neha, who also recognizes that this is the first museum he visits in the city. “I thought it was spectacular, everything is very nice, dinosaurs, their skulls, knowing how the planet formed, seeing animals and everything. I would tell everyone to come to know things that they are going to love,” explains the 7-year-old girl, making it clear that the role of the agency that seeks to relieve research in earth and life sciences, rescuing local heritage , it is fully fulfilled .