Museo de Arqueología y Paleontología

Museo de Arqueología y Paleontología information

Tarija , Bolivia
Address
Extras cnr Lema & Trigo
Opening hours
8am-noon & 3-6pm Mon-Sat
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Lonely Planet review

The university-run Archaeology & Paleontology Museum provides a glimpse of the prehistoric creatures and lives of the early peoples that once inhabited the Tarija area. Downstairs you’ll see the well-preserved remains of several animals: megatherium, a giant ground sloth that was the size of an elephant; glyptodon, a prehistoric armadillolike creature about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle; lestodon, another ground sloth that resembled a giant-clawed aardvark; scelidotherium, a small ground sloth; smilodon, the saber-toothed tiger; and Cuvierionius tarijensi, a fossil elephant that was discovered close to the city by the great French zoologist Georges Cuvier.

Upstairs the focus is on history, geology and anthropology, with displays of old household implements, weapons, ceramics and various prehistoric hunting tools, including a formidable cudgel known as a rompecabezas (head-breaker). Look for the desiccated mummified corpse of a man from the Pampagrande area, which shrunk via natural processes to measure just 35cm long.