After finishing our work in Caldera, we boarded a flight from Copiapo back to Santiago, where we continued our collaborative work at the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural downtown.
NDP and Jorge stand in front of the MNHN in Santiago next to a statue of Alexander von Humboldt, a hero of the age of discovery who spent a considerable part of his prolific career describing the natural history of Latin America. His name graces, among other things, the ocean current system off the Pacific coast of Chile and Peru. (Photo: C. S. Gutstein and J. Velez-Juarbe)
Humboldt worked throughout large parts of what is now Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Cuba and Mexico, but he never actually set foot in Santiago. Darwin did, though, and spent several months in Chile before heading north to Peru and the Galapagos Islands. (Photo: C. S. Gutstein and J. Velez-Juarbe)
The icon of MNHN is a whale skeleton, likely belonging to a fin whale (Balaneoptera physalus). Note the anatomically incorrect placement of the premaxillae; also, the anterior tip of the jaws should be separated about 20 cm to house this thing. Nonetheless, I can't really argue with the glory of a fin whale skeleton inside a cathedral to natural science. (Photo: J. Velez-Juarbe)
We also scope out the lower jaw of an adult sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus). In the foreground stands David Rubilar Rogers, head of paleontology at the museum and longstanding collaborator of our team. His museum has sweet official team gear emblazoned with MNHN's logo. (Photo: J. Velez-Juarbe).
We got lots of great work accomplished at MNHN, which includes an extensive collection of fossils that have historically been collected from the Caldera Basin. I also encourage people to click over to Caribbean Paleobiology, where Jorge has posted some photos from our time in the Stgo.