Michael Novacek, a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History in NY, said that museums maintain "our tangible record of life on Earth". "Our National Museum was 200 years old, but that's what we had, and what is lost forever". Many of the Pacific Northwest Coast artifacts arrived at the Brazillian museum indirectly.
A spokesman at the Israeli Embassy in the capital Brasilia said it didn't have more information on the Torah, Judaism's holy book.
The scrolls, nine altogether, dating back to the 1400s, are believed to have originated in Yemen.
But Luiz Philippe de Orléans e Bragança, a descendent of Brazil's last 19th century emperor, said the collection was irreplaceable.
Under the management of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro since 1946, the museum was also a research facility in which Brazilian anthropologists conducted studies that derived from human remains evidence of migration from Polynesia to what is now Brazil.
Demonstrators, a lot of them students from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, forced their way onto the site of the destroyed museum on Monday to protest the Brazilian government's protracted cuts to funding for science and education that found their disastrous expression in the burning down of the museum.
According to the New York Times, investigators are also looking into whether a short circuit in one of the institution's laboratories could have triggered the fire.
Engineers were yesterday testing to see if the structure was safe. Except for the Bendegó Meteorite, which has endured worse, almost all of the 20 million priceless items spanning 11,000 years of worldwide history are feared lost to the out-of-control fire that raced through all three floors of the largest natural history museum in Latin America.
Civil defense authorities were concerned that internal walls and the roof could collapse further, so officials had to wait to conduct a full accounting of losses.
The damage to the National Museum of Brazil is particularly devastating because there is no way to recover the artifacts that have been destroyed by the fire. "We all knew the building was vulnerable".
The firefighters "found fragments of bones in a room where the museum kept many items, including skulls", said Cristiana Serejo, the museum's vice-director. "Nw, we cry and get to work".
The museum, located in the city's north near the Maracana football stadium, was closed to the public when the fire sparked from a yet unknown cause.
Several officials have said the building was known to be in serious disrepair and at significant risk of catching fire.
"It's the responsibility of building administrators to comply with the laws", the statement read.
The group "has experience working with pieces of national heritage in areas of war, such as in Iraq, and areas impacted by fire", Fontele Reis told the AP in a phone interview.