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SERRA DA CAPIVARA

NATIONAL PARKS

BRAZIL

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NATIONAL PARK

SERRA DA CAPIVARA

Archaeological investigations carried out by Brazilian and French scholars since 1975, awakened the international attention to the Serra da Capivara (Sierra of the Capybara) National Park.

In 1981 studies revealed the existence of carbon dated materials manipulated by the first primitive settlers of the continent. The carbon 14 tests showed that such materials dated 48 thousand years back in time.

The investigations revolutionized the traditional theory that man first settled in the American continent 12 thousand years ago. The prehistoric people left their mark all over the park. These marks are shown evident in the rock paintings, graphic representations of the culture of the peoples inhabiting the area.

Brazilian archaeologist Niede Guidon affirms that there are yet older materials in the park.

The park is located in the State of Piauí, in the northeast of the country, 530 kilometres away from the capital, Teresina. The area occupies the territories of the municipalities of Son Raimundo Nonato, Joao Costa, Coronel José Dias and Canto del Buriti.

It has an extension of 129953 hectares and in 1991 it was included by UNESCO in the list of Cultural Patrimonies of Humanity.

The fauna is scarce due to the characteristics of the climate and the environment's structure. The biggest predator in the entire region is the painted ounce, a sort of jaguar, who can weight up to 50 kilograms and feeds on any other animal it can catch.
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AMAZON - BRAZIL RAIN FOREST
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Praia do Sul Ecological Reserve
According to scholars, there are over a thousand vegetal species in this park, from which six hundred plus have been catalogued. Some plants found in the park show curious morphological adaptations that combine to resist droughts. In some cases leafs change position to protect themselves from the sun.

Weather

Contrary to what may be believed, the climate in the world does not remain uniformly still, it changes and presents cycles.

The average temperature can raise or lower; the winds regime change and consequently the marine currents are altered. These phenomenons originate the climate changes. The annual average temperature is of 28° C; the rainy season goes from October to the early days of May. The hottest period of the year goes from October to late November, when the average temperature is of 35° C.

There are records showing that temperature in the region has reached a staggering 47° C. Temperatures can drop to minimums close to 10° C in June, the coldest month of the year.

Attractions

The Museum of the American Man

It keeps samples of the discoveries made by the investigators studying the region. Amongst the exposed pieces, the mandibles of a sabre tooth, fragments of a fossilized cranium, pottery almost 9 thousand years old, and a hatchet made of polished stone 9200 years old, stand out.

There are more than 400 galleries with rock paintings - kind of archaeological country houses - with scenes depicting sex, dancing, hunting, wars, crops and games. It is located at Son Raimundo Nonato.

Archaeological sites

The 48 archaeological sites have foot bridges to facilitate the observation of the rock paintings, and can be visited following 14 predetermined paths either by foot or by driving a sports utility vehicle.

Some of these paths are long and go across hard to access terrains. The Toca do Boqueirão da Pedra Furada shows inscriptions of various prehistoric periods on a 70 metre wide huge wall.

At the Sítio do Meio, besides the rock paintings, archaeologists have found vestiges of instruments used by the ancient inhabitants, such as objects made of chipped stone and fragments of pottery.

How to get there

The main point of reference to access the park is the city of Petronila, in the State of Pernambuco, 350 kilometres away. There is an airport operating in the city with regular flights.

There is a bus service from this city and from Teresina - at 510 kilometres - as well, bound to Sao Raimundo Nonato.

Travel agencies specialized in eco-tourism usually offer trips to the Serra da Capivara.
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