Careless employees and tourists are ruining priceless exhibits at the Natural Museum, including dinosaur fossils and bones of endangered species, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.
Despite having survived the millions of years since the extinction of the dinosaurs, several bones have been destroyed by hapless visitors to the famous museum, which houses an iconic exhibit of a Diplodocus carnegii dinosaur skeleton in its main central hall.
The exhibits that needed repairs included a massospondylus, an early plant-eater that roamed the planet about 200 million years ago, a camarasaurus, another giant herbivore dating back 155 million years and a moeritherium, a prehistoric relative of the elephant that lived 37 million years ago.
According to the records, the massospondylus had to be repaired after a "rib detached during a routine clean", while the lower jaw of the moeritherium was broken "possibly during filming".
The skeleton of the camarasaurus needed repair after its caudal vertebrae detached, while the skull of a bison priscus was broken "due to poor handling" while being moved to a different location inside the museum.
Insect displays were smashed in transit while being loaned out during touring exhibitis, some beyond repair. Skeletons of endangered species were also damaged by visitors, including tusks that were broken off a babirusa, a pig-deer found on just four Indonesian islands, by children playing around the exhibit.
Managers of the museum in South Kensington, south-west London, revealed that in total there have been 15 accidents in the last two years affecting the palaeontology, entomology and zoology departments, according to an FOI request by the Sunday Express.