9 Reasons Why Dippy The Diplodocus Had To Go

By M@
9 Reasons Why Dippy The Diplodocus Had To Go
Dippy's replacement

The Natural History Museum sparked controversy in 2015 when it announced plans to remove its diplodocus skeleton from the main entrance hall. The departing sauropod was replaced by the skeleton of a blue whale, pendant from the ceiling, in 2017. For many, the diplodocus, known as Dippy, was the symbol of the museum. Almost 30,000 people signed a petition to reverse the decision. We're not among them, and can think of five good reasons (and four rather silly ones) why the dinosaur had to go.

1. It's a fake. Dippy is not made of bone, or fossilised bone, or any other kind of bone. It was entirely constructed by human hand. The skeleton is plaster-cast, not ancient past, and is based on an original held in Pennsylvania. In fact, Dippy is one of 10 facsimiles lurking in museums around the world. Our dinosaur is not just a fake, but an abounding fake; a glorified garden gnome.

2. Dinosaurs buggered off a very long time ago. The blue whale is still around, and classified as endangered. Putting the cetacean at the centre of the hall reinforces the message that the Natural History Museum isn't just about history, it also plays an important role in safeguarding the future of life on Earth. All hail the whale.

3. Ejecting Dippy and hanging his/her replacement from the ceiling had freed up floor space. This can only help with crowd management at one of London's most popular attractions. It also increases the available space for corporate functions, an important source of funding for the museum. That might not be the most romantic reason for ditching Dippy, but more income helps the museum stay free to casual visitors. (It should be noted that the museum hasn't given this as a reason; we're speculating, but it makes sense.)


4. Dippy hasn't be binned, just moved elsewhere. The fake skeleton is touring the country, giving even more people the chance to view the replicated remains.

5. The dinosaur galleries are easily the most crowded in the entire museum. By removing their skeletal herald from the main hall, presumably fewer people flock to this wing. Instead, more visitors can be directed to the Large Mammals Hall, where they can see an incredible full-size sculpture of a blue whale.

6. The 'skeleton' first arrived at the museum in 1905, but has only stood in the main hall since 1979. The revered tradition of displaying the beast so prominently dates only as far back as Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

7. London now has a flying whale! One bowl of petunias later, and Douglas Adams has a temple.

8. The whole farrago has raised awareness of the 1975 film One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing — a curious Disney flick that combines a stolen sauropod, London car chases and casual racism. Watch out for the scene on Bankside, where one of the Barbican towers obtrudes upon the skyline, despite the film being set in the 1920s.

9. According to the influential documentary Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, we mess with the whales at our peril. Wipe out the creatures, and we risk a visit from a vast ocean-boiling space probe that can communicate only through jarring 1980s synth chords. Let us learn from those events, and put the whale at the centre of the museum.

See also: Our previous bout of iconoclasm: six reasons NOT to rebuild the Euston Arch.

Last Updated 10 November 2017

Natasha McDonagh

Yes, we all know Dippy isn't a real dinosaur, but one of a series of replicas. That doesn't discount the meaning the model dinosaur continues to have, however. None of your points really convince. Many of us only date as far back as the 1970s, but that doesn't make us less worthwhile! Am hoping Dippy stays in his rightful place for the foreseeable future.

Eileen Fox

No 7 alone is the best and most compelling reason to ditch the dinosaur.


I'm a Star Trek fan and I'm not sure that hanging the skeletal remains of one of their beloved creatures would save the Earth from catastrophe.

Incidentally I wonder how many of those 30k have even visited of late. This sounds like classic internet bandwagon jumping.


The hall looks pretty big to me - can't they just hang the flying whale above the dinosaur? Then everyone will be happy...


Every family visit and school trip Dippy has been there since I was a child and he is part of the museum and it is always lovely to see him there now as an adult too. So much changes in life but to go back and see him there as he is always has been throughout my life is a wonderful thing.I want him to stay and I bet if he could talk he would want to stay at the museum too!


Dippy has impressed schoolchildren for over 100 years. It is madness to replace this monumental exhibition. Lets try to save Dippy by signing this petition..https://www.change.org/p/natural-histo...

Mike Paterson

And how about 10) There are no pronunciation controversies surrounding "Blue Whale".


Being a foreigner I didn't grow up with Dippy and thus don't have such an emotional attachment as other people here - so overall I'm neither pro nor against it. However, I'm not too sure about you reason 5. People love dinosaurs and that's the reason the wing is so crowded - not because everybody suddenly goes there after seeing Dippy in the entrance hall. If anything, I expect that the wing will get even MORE crowded, with people snapping pictures with whatever other dinos are left in the museum and thus staying there longer than they do now.


I wasn't sure, until no. 7. Now I say "bring on the whale. And the petunias!"


Point 5 So there is already a full-size sculpture of a Blue Whale in the NHM ? What's the point of adding another skeleton of a Blue Whale ? And I'm guessing the sculpture isn't authentic, either. Just like poor old Dippy. First you go extinct and then you get evicted. There's no justice.


Actually, I preferred it when it was elephants and rhinos, but we all prefer things like they were when we were young. I could never get used to the dinosaur being there (he should be in his own gallery, down the corridor to the right).

Truth is that change is good, especially in a museum, and this change is long overdue. Keep things fresh.

Vicky Page

Number 7... that's the only reason we need


The mock ups of the proposed whale placement look pretty cool to me. I think kids in particular would get a kick out of it, especially since they'd be able to walk right beneath it and look at that alien-like skull diving down at them. I love the juxtaposition in the above picture of the whale with Charles Darwin in the background, like he's Poseidon sending the creature on a noble mission of education and discovery. Sorry, Dippy!

Christopher Fowler

OK, I'm convinced, especially after your piece drove me back to watch Peter Ustinov doing 'slitty eyes' and embarrassing accent in 'One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing'. You can make that one more missing...

Terri G

You're wrong. Dippy is an institution. When people think of the NHM - Dippy was always there to welcome them. Since they're going to hang the blue whale from the vaulted ceiling, there is no reason why Dippy cannot stay there as well.

JIM Birch

Having just been round the NHM they should remove all the Dinosaurs stuff its very clearly all fake it should be in a theme park. We have the internet now people know Dinosaurs were a hoax