In a new tour with EL DIA, the researcher Nicolás Colombo continued to reveal the mysteries of the City, this time around the house where Florentino Ameghino lived at the corner of 11th and 60th, the controversy over his birth data which includes the debate on his country of birth and the crosses that this illustrious intellectual -member of the famous group of the Five Sages of La Plata- had with another notable of his time, the expert Francisco Moreno.
From this central corner, Colombo explained that the house now installed there “is not the original house, since this one was demolished a few years ago”. “He had a bookstore here, where he worked with his brother,” he said.
Colombo recalled that Ameghino “was one of the five sages of La Plata and more than 100 years after his death, the date of his birth is still unknown. It has always been said that Ameghino was Argentinian, that he was born in September 1854. But there was also a birth certificate for a man of the same name and nation in Moneglia, Italy, a year earlier.
“Then there was always this question of whether he was Argentinian or Italian. His biographer discredited that birth certificate, said it was fake and that the original that gave credit that he was Argentinian l ‘had made it disappear’, he saw again.
However, he said, “a few years ago investigators finally found a letter in Italy saying he was born in that country and never meant to say he was Argentinian for avoid military service when he traveled to Italy”.
“At one point he wanted to go back to Italy to look for fossils there. He had to ask favors to be exempted from compulsory military service because he was Italian. But for this reason he was unable to make the trip,” he added.
Colombo assured that “he traveled to Argentina when he was 1 year old. His parents were Italian, he was born there, and his brothers were already born here in the country.
Settled in the country “he begins to investigate in the Luján River finding fossils and that’s when his curiosity awakes”. Over the years “not a student but self-taught, he devoted himself to the search for fossils. He raises an interesting theory which is later dismissed that the origin of man was not Africa but South America. In this way, Colombo claimed, “he began to be known nationally and internationally”.
Colombo pointed out that “Ameghino is so successful that after a few years of the La Plata Foundation, the museum is inaugurated in the city, in charge of the expert Moreno, and he appoints him deputy director”.
As he said, “there are personal ego fights between them over certain publications and the discovery of fossils, known as the ‘bone war'”. From that argument, he pointed out that “less than two years later they kicked him and his brother out of the museum. They wanted to continue investigating and the expert Moreno wouldn’t let them in.
“There is a myth that Ameghino and his brother threw out false fossil clues so that when the expert Moreno went looking for them, they wouldn’t find them,” he added.
The researcher pointed out that “Ameghino was self-taught and self-financed his expeditions. By the time he finished working at the museum, he had a bookstore in Buenos Aires. And in this corner of La Plata he opened the Rivadavia bookstore, where he worked with his brother.
Colombo clarified that “Ameghino died in 1911, they buried him in the Pantheon of Masters at La Plata Cemetery and later they built their own mausoleum which is in the central square of La Plata Cemetery”.
“He was a Mason, he was an atheist and the fact that he has a Christian cross is rare. It also caused criticism in the Catholic Church, especially with the bust that was going to be done in the square in front of the San Ponciano church , but it could not be finalized. Finally a clock was made which was demolished in 1932 and today there is finally the fountain that we all know”.