Dinosaur to lose pole position
If you have visited London’s Natural History Museum (NHM) then you will have seen the massive model of a dinosaur skeleton, which greets you as you enter the main hall! Affectionately known as Dippy, this famous dinosaur is losing its pole position ….to a whale!
Dippy was first described as a new type of dinosaur in 1878 by Professor Othniel C March at Yale University. The species lived sometime between 156 and 145 million years ago and belongs to a group called sauropods, meaning ‘lizard feet’.
The museum staff say Dippy is no longer considered relevant enough to what is happening in the natural world today.
The dinosaur model was donated to the museum 109 years ago and will be replaced in summer 2017 by the 83-foot long real skeleton of a blue whale. (One of the reasons he’s being replaced is that Dippy is only a replica, whereas the blue whale coming in will be a real skeleton.)
The 25m-long blue whale skeleton currently hangs in the mammals gallery. It was acquired for the museum shortly after it opened in 1881. It had beached at Wexford on the southeast coast of Ireland.
Museum director, Sir Michael Dixon said, “It’s about asking real questions of contemporary relevance.
“Much loved as Dippy is, he’s a plaster cast replica of a diplodocus, and one of a number around the world.
“We think this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to re-imagine the main hall. This is not about saying Dippy is of no value – he’s an icon of the museum.”
The curators paid £250 for it in 1891, although it was not put on public display in London until 1935. Every single bone is present. They will now all be carefully dismantled, cleaned and catalogued, and then re-suspended on wires above the Hintze entrance.
Anyone walking into the current mammals gallery knows the whale skeleton to have a flat pose, but in 2017 in its new home it will have a dramatic, diving posture.
Dippy is became such an iconic character he has his own section on the National History Museum website, his own Twitter and Facebook accounts!
Millfield Community Primary Academy went on a school trip to London for four days in 2014 and were amazed by how big Dippy was. A YJA member, who was present that day, said: “I found Dippy really, really cool and amazing and I am sad that he is moving.”
Lots of people are sad about this news and the question is will the blue whale become as big as ‘Dippy the Dinosaur’?
Dylan, Year 6
Heighington Millfield Primary Academy