Culture

Stunning Blue Whale Displaces Iconic 'Dippy' the Diplodocus at London Museum

“Dippy” the Diplodocus skeleton has claimed the London Natural History Museum’s central hall as its home for over 100 years, but the massive reptile’s remains are set to go on a tour of the UK through 2020, and “Hope” the blue whale skeleton has taken the iconic dino’s place.

Hope weighs four tons, and the skeleton comes from a female blue whale that was beached on the southeast coast of Ireland in 1891. The London museum paid 250 pounds for the collection of 221 whale bones in 1892, and since then, she had resided in their mammals gallery. When the decision was made to promote Hope to the central hall, it took three years of hard work to prepare the ancient whale bones to be suspended from the ceiling, including scanning and printing 3D replicas of some of the whale’s smaller and more fragile bones as suitable replacements.

The whale is now installed in an awe-inspiring and dramatic pose that looks as though Hope is diving down from the ceiling to gulp up museum guests.

No worries though — while blue whales are the largest animals on earth at 98 feet long, they almost exclusively eat tiny crustaceans called krill. Blue whales are still considered an endangered species due to the widespread whaling in the 1800s and mid-1900s, though the population seems to be slowly recovering worldwide.

We can’t forget about Dippy though- Dippy is a replica cast of a Diplodocus skeleton that was unearthed in Wyoming in 1898, and this 70-foot-long dinosaur model has been a part of the Natural History Museum since 1905. Although Hope is already hanging around her new home, it’s going to take museum curators a year to get the dinosaur skeleton refurbished and ready for his cross-country road trip to museums all over the United Kingdom. The Diplodocus will return to the London museum in 2020 as a re-casted bronze statue that will be placed in the gardens around the building.

Which mammoth animal skeleton is more impressive on display? Hope the blue whale, or Dippy the Diplodocus?