Santiago, Apr 8 (EFE).- The Aysen Regional Museum, a gallery in southern Chile which houses the famous remains of Chilesaurus, has been named as the best new museum in Latin America in the Leading Culture Destination awards based in Berlin, also dubbed the “Oscar of Museums,” Chilean authorities informed on Friday.
“Thanks to this award, more people would be able to access and know not just the natural wealth that distinguishes this place, but also the cultural heritage of this region and its inhabitants,” Chilean Minister of Culture Julieta Brodsky Hernández said.
Situated in Coyhaique, capital of the Aysen province in the Patagonia region, the museum had already been nominated in the previous edition of the awards, but this time clinched the prize at a ceremony held in Berlin on Thursday, beating its competitor, the Museum of Image and Sound situated in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.
Inaugurated in early 2018, the Aysen Regional Museum safeguards and spreads the natural and cultural heritage of one of the remotest regions of the world, situated around 1,400 kms south of Santiago in the middle of Patagonia.
“It is a valuable platform to promote the Aysen region as an attractive destination not just for nature tourism but also for its cultural heritage,” the museum’s director Gustavo Saldivia said.
The LCB Berlin Awards were established 2014 to highlight emerging and established cultural institutions across the world, aiming to promote them as cultural destinations.
The museum’s main attraction is the remains of the Chilesaurus, a peculiar dinosaur species discovered by accident in 2004 by a seven-year-old boy in the mountains Aysen, and since then dubbed as the “Rosetta stone of paleontology,” a reference to the Egyptian rock that allowed the deciphering of hieroglyphics.
In June 2015, Chilesaurus made the front page of the prestigious Nature magazine, and experts from around the world continue to study it as the discovery has radically changed the knowledge of dinosaurs’ evolution and led to a reassessment of natural history.
Chilesaurus diegosuarezi, christened in the honor of Diego, the young paleontologist who discovered it, is so far the only known species to have features of the two major groups of dinosaurs: theropods, who walked on two legs and were carnivores, and sauropodomorphs, long-necked herbivorous dinosaurs.
“Diego was obsessed with dinosaurs and used to play with cow bones pretending that they were bones of Diplodocus. One day he broke a rock and several fossils were discovered. That is how everything began,” the boy’s father Manuel Suarez told EFE at the museum in February.
At 148 million years old, Chilesaurus is among the oldest dinosaur species found in South America, which lived towards the end of the late Jurassic period, and just around be beginning of the cretaceous period. EFE