Boy, 10, spots Natural History Museum dinosaur error

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Oviraptor and museum signImage copyright Natural History Museum/ Family photo
Image caption An artist’s impression of an oviraptor (l) and not an oviraptor (r)

The Natural History Museum has admitted one of its dinosaurs was incorrectly labelled, after the error was pointed out by a 10-year-old visitor.

Dinosaur fan Charlie, 10, from Essex, has Asperger syndrome and noticed an incorrect sign about oviraptors.

Although his parents doubted the museum had made a mistake, Charlie insisted the picture showed a different species.

The museum said it was impressed with Charlie’s knowledge and said it would correct the sign.

Charlie’s parents had taken him and his brother to stay overnight at the London museum on 21 July.

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Image copyright Science Photo Library

While other children were on a dinosaur hunt, Charlie, from Canvey Island, preferred “reading the signs about them”, which is when he noticed something was not quite right.

A silhouette image of an apparent oviraptor – a dinosaur with a beak that walked on its hind legs – was instead a four-legged protoceratops.

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption The museum had mistakenly put a picture of a a protoceratops on the oviraptor sign, it admitted

Charlie knows his dinosaurs, his mother Jade said.

“He’s loved palaeontology since he was very young and started reading encyclopaedias when he was about three.

“Charlie has Asperger syndrome and as part of that, when he likes a subject he will try and find out everything about it.”

Charlie explained: “I found a side-by-side comparison to the dinosaur, and I saw it said oviraptor, but then the shape of the dinosaur was wrong and we told a member of staff.”

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Charlie (right) and brother Ronnie were at a “sleepover” at the museum

“When he told us, we said, ‘OK, we know you’re good, but this is the Natural History Museum,” his mother said.

“It turned out Charlie was right.”

A museum staff member has since contacted Charlie’s father to say: “I’ve been able to get hold of our main dinosaur expert and he’s been able to confirm your son is correct. The labels do not show a correct silhouette for oviraptor.”

A spokesman said the dinosaur gallery had been “refurbished several times” and “an error has been made”.

The museum was “very impressed with Charlie’s knowledge,” he added, and the sign will be corrected.

Image copyright Family photo


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