Museo de Arqueología y Paleontología

Museo de Arqueología y Paleontología information

Tarija , Bolivia
cnr Lema & Trigo
Opening hours
8am-noon & 3-6pm Mon-Sat
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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 well-preserved animal remains and 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).

A few of the fossils on display: megatherium , a giant ground sloth that was the size of an elephant; glyptodon , a prehistoric armadillo-like 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, look for the desiccated mummified corpse of a man from the Pampagrande area, which shrunk via natural processes to measure just 35cm long.