Dippy the Diplodocus, the replica dinosaur skeleton that had greeted visitors in the entrance hall of London’s Natural History Museum from 1905 to 2017, has embarked on a tour of the United Kingdom.
The skeleton, 26 meters (85 feet) long and consisting of 292 plaster-cast bones, has started its trip on the Jurassic Coast in the south-western county of Dorset and will travel on to seven other venues, ending in the eastern city of Norwich in 2020.
The Natural History Museum says it hopes the tour by the iconic skeleton, which has never been seen outside the London museum, will encourage visitors to “explore nature on their doorstep,” with each host museum using the opportunity afforded by their illustrious dino guest to promote their own natural history collections.
In a press statement on the museum’s website, its director, Sir Michael Dixon, said Dippy was “to visit unusual locations so he can draw in people who may not traditionally visit a museum, and we’ve made sure he will still be free to view at each stop on his tour.”
Dippy was replaced in the entrance hall of the London museum in 2017 by the skeleton of a blue whale found dead on an Irish beach in 1891.
Dippy himself died some 152 million years ago in what is now the state of Wyoming in the United States, where his bones were found by railway workers in 1898.
The plaster cast of the skeleton, the original of which is housed in the US Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, was created at the wish of King Edward VII and shipped to the UK in 1905.
The Diplodocus genus of dinosaurs lived between about 154 and 152 million years ago in what is now mid-western North America, at the end of the Jurassic period.