Science & Environment

Farewell to Dippy!

The Natural History Museum in London has announced it is to replace the plaster-cast model of a Diplodocus skeleton, known as 'Dippy', with a full skeleton of a blue whale in 2017.

The model has witnessed a marriage proposal, a rock gig, several dinners and balls, and inspired a generation to take an interest in palaeontology.

Dippy, if not earning an outstanding nickname, has become an icon of SW7 in its 30-plus years, greeting all who enter the Hintze Hall, including many BBC News website readers and those on social media.

Image copyright @Nat_Nature

@Nat_Nature tweeted this image of Dippy, one of the first sights to visitors through the Museum's main entrance. Her tweet sums up the public feeling toward the decision. "I have always loved Dippy, it will be sad for her to not have pride of place, but change is exciting!"

Image copyright Richard Gunn

Richard Gunn from Castletown, Caithness says, "The Natural History Museum was one of the highlights of our family holiday to London in 2013. The space of the big hall filled with the iconic Dippy the dinosaur made a lasting impression on all of us".

Party like it's 199,900,000 BC

Many images have shown the use of Dippy as a centrepiece to events held at the Museum.

Image copyright Robert Cato

Although his last encounter with Dippy came during a gala dinner in 2013, Robert Cato has enjoyed the museum and the sauropod skeleton model both as a child and a parent,

"I was able to use the classic joke when I first took my children there: He is 64 million and 22 years old. I know this because he was 64 million years old when I visited as a boy, 22 years ago."

Dippy has also been a guest at a rock gig. Christine Allum sent in the picture below, taken in 2006, when The Strokes played at the Museum.

Image copyright Christine Allum

"The gig was memorable for me since it was my birthday," she recalls. "It was part of a series of gigs in unusual places.

"By the time the gig started the place was packed but my friend Matt and I found a good spot to stand just under the Diplodocus' tail.

"At first all was good, the Strokes were on good form and everyone was having a ball but as the crowd got more into it and started to jump up and down the tail started to sway wildly, almost like Dippy was getting excited himself!"

Image copyright Lux Life Blog

"I will be sad to see him go," agrees Catherine Lux, who blogged her picture with Dippy at the Country Life Grand Ball in 2014.

An extinct proposal

Dippy is also a major draw to the Museum's other late night offerings, such as Dino Snores, where you can sleep in the main hall, among the exhibits.

"My now-husband asked me to marry him after spending the night camping under Dippy's head in May," says Lisa Drabble.

"I'm a bit of a frustrated palaeontologist," she explains. Although her hen party in Copenhagen included a trip to see Misty the diplodocus on display at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, Lisa says, "She really didn't have the wow factor you get viewing Dippy in that great hall".

"I'm now on honeymoon. Dippy was always a favourite of mine but that magnificent beast is particularly special to me now."

Written by Richard Irvine-Brown and Alison Daye

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