Personnel in charge belonging to the Natural and Cultural History Museum of the Atacama Desert made an important finding of an ax from Argentinian Northwest cultures.

Prior authorization from the National Monuments Council, Natural and Cultural History Museum of the Atacama Desert was instructed on the need to rescue archaeological remains appearing at the Chunchuri sector, located in the western of Calama. In the place some human remains were found, as well as a distinctive ceremonial ax, which is currently being analyzed by experts from the museum.

Regarding the context of the finding, Osvaldo Rojas, director of the Natural and Cultural History Museum of the Atacama Desert, said that “approximately 1000 – 800 years ago, different nomadic cultures left here material evidence of its presence, for example the case of the varied clothes that we find in Topater with elements from other tribes, such as parrot feathers, Andean hairy armadillos shells and skins of some Amazonian felines, which evidences a fairly frequent exchange among communities from the coast, in the intermediate zone, in the Altiplano and in the Amazon area of the continent ”.

Relating this, Rojas explains that, ” the cultural and technological exchange was very powerful within the current Argentine northwest strengthening this area around metal smelting frequently.”

“As for the ax, we can state it is a unique cultural expression. This ax is made of copper and tin, corroborated with analyses carried out at the laboratories of the Catholic University of the North, the results show the presence of some iconographic elements of the “Santamarian culture”, a human group that made great advances around metal handling and which was developed mainly in the current province of Salta, Argentina,” said Rojas.

The found ax represents the figure of a feline verified in the shape of the element, in which the eyes, snout, teeth, fangs and ears of the animal are clearly reflected. Moreover, since the tool is not sharpened, it is understood that it was intended exclusively for ritual uses.

With regard to the manufacture of the ax, the shape was manufactured due to an existing mold, in which molten metal was poured, thus generating the shape of the feline.

With this finding, it can be ensured that traditions and customs of various enclaves of Argentinean northwestern were present in our area, through intense exchange networks generated by groups of caravans. These vestiges are a clear example of the important cultural development in prehistory which reached the area of our city, Calama.



For the first time, the illustrative species of Chilean fauna have a new representative on its list, an amphibian which has been selected with the clear objective of raising awareness and educating about the imperative need to conserve and protect our native species.

Since 2014, the contest is organized by the Jane Goodall Institute, as part of Wildlife Day in Chile in order to spotilght our delicate fauna status. This year, the froglet of Loa contested with the Fin Whale, the Guiña (or Red Cat), Acanthinodera, Duck Cuttoff and the Matuasto Chillón lizard (Alicahue fat lizard). This little frog will represent our fauna, as the Huemul (The south Andean deer), Darwin Fox, Andean mountain Cat, Quirquincho de la Puna (Andean hairy armadillo), Stag beetle and the Humboldt Penguin did before.

During 2019, the human intervention of the habitat where the froglet of Loa lives almost become this amphibious extinct. Thankfully, a convenient intervention was performed and the last specimens were rescued. Most of them are in the National Zoo of Santiago in an ex situ conservation program, expecting they can be reintroduced into their habitat in the future.

In this context, The Natural and Cultural History Museum of Atacama Desert, a unit of Culture and Tourism Corporation of Calama, leads the project “Actions for Conservation and Environmental Education in Telmatobius dankoi, the Frog in Danger of the Loa: Crisis of extinction and future actions ”, where overall with the Environmental Management and Biodiversity Center of the Faculty of Veterinary and Cattle Sciences of the University of Chile, Municipality of Calama and CODELCO North, seek to raise awareness about the importance of conserving and protecting one of the most threatened vertebrates in Chile. The Museum assignment adds to the studies aimed at the conservation of the froglet of Loa, by the Environment Ministry, National Zoo and researchers of the University of Chile and Andrés Bello University.

Currently in Chile, 60 species of frogs and native toads are recognized, where 61.7% are unique in Chile and 73.3% are threatened.

Undoubtedly, we celebrate this milestone for our native amphibians, with our dear ambassador.



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.”



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 .



The Museum of Natural and Cultural History of the Atacama Desert presents an exhibition at the former North American Chilean Institute (Ichnac) located in the former Mining Camp.

The exhibition portrays the social aspect of those who inhabited this place when Chuquicamata turns 104 years of history. The work was done by the, belonging to the Corporation of Culture and Tourism of the city of Calama.

An emotional walk that moves those who lived in Chuquicamata until those years when they shared a life of sacrifice and which it remains in their memories. Enrique Cortés, who was born in the old hospital of the town states while touring the museum that the feeling related is mostly nostalgia, because he studied at the Liceo América and “seeing all this gives grief and joy because they are 40 years old that I did not return to this beautiful land”.

“I studied English for 6 months with my sisters, here, where the museum is: I hope everyone can feel the great memories and hopefully remember them,” Cortes added. Another perspective is brought by Magdalena Bugueño, who left Chuquicamata 45 years ago. She told the press that she returned for the first time to Chuquicamata since she left. She was married here, his father worked on the mineral and remembered that the ashtrays used by her father who worked in the refinery. “He used to throw copper into bowls for decoration”. She also found some bottles of mineral water, drinks and beers that were packed in 12.

Children were also part of the exhibition. Students from the Valentín Letelier School toured, met and asked about the history of Chuquicamata. “I enjoyed it very much and there were many beautiful things which caught my attention as the Copper Man,” said one of the students.

A great effort was shown by the museum area of the Corporation of Culture and Tourism of Calama, led by Osvaldo Rojas, who highlighted the historical significance of the mineral on its anniversary. “We wanted to be present again bringing an exhibition of heritage character which includes the most important values of social development in Chuquicamata that is oriented to the society that existed in the camp,” said the director.

Rojas added that in the exhibition “there are toys, books and objects that were used by miners daily in the past and, through this exhibition, they evoke the memory which is opened like a window in time to be present in the current Chuquicamata “.

The director also commented that Chuquicamata was not absent from the history of the towns that arise through Chilean mining.

Many inhabitants were born in the camp or directly came to town when they were children, but “when you talk about the 20s or 40s, you only mention numbers and if you start thinking and trying to meet those thousands of people you discover many experiences, experiences and much contribution to the development of communities, “he said.

104 years of mineral history and much more can be found in the museum. The exhibition will bring you back to the best years of the great Chuquicamata. It will be presented until Sunday, and it will be located in the former North American Chilean Institute (Ichnac).