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with large flowers, already announcing the proximity of the benevolent river; then the landscape unfolded, and the majestic Sao Francisco River glowed in the distance, rippling placidly.

Etching 57 Rio Sao Francisco

Rio Sao Francisco today

We feel the dithyrambic force of Pindaro's verse - "Water is the best", - reviving our exhausted spirit, when we finally reached, after so many tribulations and misadventures, the blessed river.



I) The first news about the Cachoeira copper block was given by D. Vandelli, in the "Memories of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Lisbon" (vol. I, page 261), with the following words: - “A block of pure copper was found in a valley two leagues from Cachoeira and four from Bahia. It weighs 2,616 pounds, and is rhomboid in shape, with many depressions and protrusions. The largest height of the block is 3'2 "; the width at the base is 2'6"; the largest thickness is 10 ". The outer color is a dark yellow, having here and there bluish-green spots due to oxidation of the copper; at the bottom also yellow spots, formed by iron ochre." In many places, and especially on the underside, there are larger and smaller pieces, which at first glance look like oligysts (ferrum micaceum), but, when tested with fire, have proven to be hardened copper ocher, giving an ounce of the same 6 ½ octaves of pure copper. Chemical analysis revealed no silver or gold, but 97% pure copper. In the same place was another, much smaller piece of the same metal. As we examined the block, our attention was drawn above all to its shallow cavity surface, which gave us the idea that the metal had suffered a superficial fusion. Similar cavities are also found in the Bendego meteorite.

II) For a naturalist who stayed longer in the interior of Brazil, it would be of utmost interest to thoroughly investigate the bone remains of primitive animals. According to the different news, which I could obtain in this regard, the animal forms hitherto found in this great country must be these: 1) A mammoth, to which belong the great prey, which were found in various places

of Minas Gerais, near Itacambira, Vila do Fanado, Formigas and Brejo das Almas. Also in the saltpeter caves and loam deposits of Santo Antonio do Curvelo and near Tamandua, these gigantic bones appear to have appeared.

Whether these remains belong to the Ohio animal (Mastodon giganteus, Cuv.), Mastondon Humboldtii, Cuv., or to some species not yet described which will require further investigation. The lower jaw and the shoulder blade of Caldeiroes

Serra de Itiuba

Monte Santo

(between Serra de Itiuba and Monte Santo belong to this genre). Undoubtedly, the following are also known: in the province of Bahia, several caves in the vicinity of the Salitre River, especially near its source at Morro do Chapeu, and at Almas Farm, where ammonia salt also appears, in Pernambuco: in a lagoon, on the southern slope of the Pao de Acucar Mountain, not far from the Sao Francisco River (according to Cazal) 2) The large remains of bones, measuring almost one foot, all without the cortical lining, which were found near the Rio das Contas due to its extraordinary volume, seem to belong to an animal of the order of the Toothless, perhaps at the same time. Gigantic megatery, which was found in Paraguay and today is an ornament of the Museum of Natural History of Madrid. 3) At the same time one must mention the related genre of Megalonix, which we discovered in Lapa Grande, near Formigas.


If we consider the occurrence of all these animals in such a large territory (from 17 ° to 16 ° latitude), in the plains and valleys with deposits of loam or clay, we cannot escape the thought that they perished and were transmitted to posterity surprised, quite differently from the mane elephant (Elephas jubatus, Cuv.) and the antediluvian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros antiquitatis, Cuv.) in northern Asia. While there the tropical land froze at once, suddenly

Elephas jubatus

Rhinoceros antiquitatis