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Blue whale skeleton

Dinosaur Skeleton To be Replaced With Blue  Whale

Photos: Natural History Museum

By 2017, guests at the Natural History Museum will be greeted by the skeleton of a blue whale instead of a diplodocus skeleton

Dippy the Diplodocus skeleton has stood proud in Hintze Hall at London’s Natural History Museum since the 1970s. Soon, though, it will replaced by an imposing blue whale skeleton that will be suspended from the ceiling.

The whale skeleton is the remains of a specimen that was beached in Wexford Harbour, Ireland in 1891 after being injured by whalers. It will be moving from its current position in the Mammal Hall, where it has hung above a life-sized model of the same species since 1938.

‘As the largest known animal to have ever lived on Earth, the story of the blue whale reminds us of the scale of our responsibility to the planet,’ museum director, Sir Michael Dixon, said in a statement about the switch and its link to the museum’s new strategy. ‘This makes it the perfect choice of specimen to welcome and capture the imagination of our visitors, as well as marking a major transformation of the museum.’

The dinosaur’s eviction has divided Twitter users into Team Dippy and Team Whale, with each side using hashtags to show their support. While the news has tugged at heartstrings and saddened several people – Metro has an ongoing change.org petition to keep the dinosaur in the lobby, signed by 23,694 supporters – others are welcoming the change, which brings with it an opportunity to send an important conservation message.

‘Climates, sea levels and ecosystems are being altered at a rate that probably exceeds most of the mass extinctions that have occurred during Earth’s long history, perhaps even the one that killed off the dinosaurs,’ Stephen Brusatte wrote in a piece for The Guardian. ‘This message needs to be articulated to the public. And there is no more charismatic creature than a blue whale.’

‘This is an important and necessary change,’ said Sir Dixon. ‘As guardians of one of the world’s greatest scientific resources, our purpose is to challenge the way people think about the natural world, and that goal has never been more urgent. The blue whale serves as a poignant reminder that while abundance is no guarantee of survival, through our choices, we can make a real difference.’

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