Superstitious Museumgoers in China Turn Dinosaur Fossil Display into Wishing Well

Museum officials seem unconcerned by the practice. Photo: Shanghai List

While many people harbor superstitions in one way or another, a strange belief seems to have taken hold of visitors to Beijing’s Museum of Natural History who have turned one exhibit into a veritable wishing well, throwing money at a dinosaur skeleton for prosperity, Shanghai List reports.

The museum has been criticized by conservationists for allowing visitors to squeeze coins and bills through a narrow gap into a glass display case containing the fossilized remains of a Lotosaurus adcentus.

The museum has taken a surprisingly lax stance on the strange phenomenon. A security guard shrugged off the issue explaining, “Most of it is 5 or 10 yuan bills and coins from kids and grown ups. We usually don’t stop them since it doesn’t damage the booth or the exhibits.”

Director Zhou Ying doesn’t seem to have a problem with it either. “Believers might be tossing coins in the container for health or wealth purposes” he said, seemingly unconcerned by the risk of damage to the ancient skeleton.

Meanwhile archaeologists have denounced the museum for neglecting their responsibility to properly maintain the ancient remains.

Some visitors have expressed their dismay at the “uncivilized” money throwers. Chinese state media Xinhua reported that an unnamed visitor said that the practice “lowers the cultural level of the museum and affects people’s appreciation for the quality of the exhibition.”

The news comes after negligent Chinese museum visitors killed a starfish in a selfie-related mishap (see Starfish Dies in Tragic Photo-Op Accident at Shanghai’s New Natural History Museum).

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