‘Museum superstar’ Dippy touring UK

For the first time in more than a century, members of the public can see Dippy the Diplodocus outside of London.

At 85ft-long (26m), the plaster cast of the dinosaur skeleton has stood in the entrance hall of the Natural History Museum in London since 1979.

It has been housed at the museum since 1905, but has now begun a three-year tour of the UK, starting with Dorset County Museum in Dorchester, near to the UK’s Jurassic Coast.

In life, Dippy – a member of the Diplodocus carnegii species – would have lived between 145 million and 156 million years ago in North America, at the end of the Jurassic period.

While early research believed that Diplodocuses would have stood with their necks held high in the air, more modern studies have suggested the neutral position was more likely to have been horizontal – the position in which it is typically now displayed.

The Natural History Museum's Diplodocus skeleton cast, known as Dippy, is installed at Dorset County Museum in Dorchester, the first stop on a UK tour. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday February 9, 2018. See PA story SCIENCE Dippy. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Image: Although the dinosaur has 292 bones, Dippy comes together in 86 pieces

It is estimated five million people will see Dippy while he travels the country.

Jon Murden, the director of the Dorset County Museum, said he was delighted so many people were predicted to come out and see Dippy.

“I think it’s because he’s a museum superstar. He’s a true icon of the museum world.

“You often think of that entrance to the Natural History Museum, where he stood,” when you think about museums in general.”

Lorraine Cornish from the Natural History Museum said: “It’s a really proud day, it has been a lot of work to plan this with all the venues.

“It took two weeks to put Dippy together and we are really, really pleased Dippy is going to open to the public on Saturday.

“Although the dinosaur has 292 bones, Dippy comes together in 86 pieces.

“We chose Dorset because we decided we wanted to go back in time to when Dippy was around, 150 million years ago, and the Jurassic Coast is the home of palaeontology.”

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Dippy will go on tour around the country

Image: Dippy will go on tour around the country

Ms Cornish went on: “It is great for people to be able to come and see Dippy in a venue outside of London, it’s free and there are a fantastic range of events to engage people, young and old with Dippy, the natural world and natural history.”

After spending three months on display in Dorchester, Dippy will travel to museums and cathedrals in Birmingham, Belfast, Glasgow, Newcastle, Cardiff, Rochdale and Norwich