Nizar Ibrahim, assistant professor of Biology in the College of Engineering & Science and a research associate for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, was recently quoted in the Discovery Magazine article, “Dark Data: The Vulnerable Treasures Sitting On Museum Shelves,” Sept. 4.
This article examines the recent and devastating fire at Brazil’s National Museum, which destroyed more than 90 percent of the fossils and other scientifically significant finds.
An excerpt from the article:
For paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim, the catastrophic fire was particularly poignant. Ibrahim first made a splash a few years ago with Spinosaurus, the largest predatory dinosaur known, and the only one adapted to an aquatic lifestyle. Ibrahim’s find was considered a rediscovery of the animal because the first fossils of it, found in Egypt more than a century ago by German paleontologist Ernst Stromer, were destroyed during World War II. Allied bombs leveled the Munich museum where they were kept.
“Seeing the museum in Rio engulfed by flames was an extremely painful experience for me and, inevitably, the black-and-white images of the burnt-out shell of the Munich museum that housed Spinosaurus and other incredible finds came flooding back,” says Ibrahim. “Stromer saw the Munich museum – one of the best in Europe – reduced to rubble during a war. Seeing a large museum destroyed in peaceful times in a fire, possibly because of problems with fire hydrants and major funding cuts, is a reminder that it doesn’t take air raids to destroy an entire museum.”