Save Dippy vs Team Whale
February 1, 2015 10:08 AM   Subscribe

Since 1979 the main hall in London's Natural History Museum has been dominated by a plaster cast of a fossil of a Diplodocus (apparently called 'Dippy'). It has been announced that is to be replaced by the skeleton of a Blue Whale. There has been somewhat of a reaction.
posted by fearfulsymmetry (23 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's just a plaster copy anyway, the original is still displayed at The Carnegie here in Pittsburgh.
posted by octothorpe at 10:17 AM on February 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


Don't let the Brits know. They'll come over to Pittsburgh, "discover" the original, and bring it back to one of their museum.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:25 AM on February 1, 2015 [19 favorites]


It's a big hall. They can easily both fit in there.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:32 AM on February 1, 2015


It's a big hall. They can easily both fit in there.

The blue whale's contract expressly demands solo billing.
posted by Etrigan at 10:34 AM on February 1, 2015 [9 favorites]


The more important question is who would win in a fight.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 10:34 AM on February 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Srsly though. Wouldn't the fact that the whale is bigger than the diplodocus just serve to underline how important it is to look after the animals that currently live on this planet? It's like saying: yes, dinosaurs are fascinating, but look at the amazing animals that we still have with us.
In my view, the message would only be clearer that way. And the whale could be looming behind the dinosaur model, almost threatening to shove it out of the way, visualising how mammals replaced the dinosaurs.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:44 AM on February 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


...the whale could be looming behind the dinosaur model, almost threatening to shove it out of the way, visualising how mammals replaced the dinosaurs.

by that same reasoning they should really just replace the whale and the dinosaur with a mass of human skeletons, crowding out everything in the hall so you can't move without brushing bone.

it would would make at least two excellent points.
posted by ennui.bz at 10:56 AM on February 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


Wait, it's not real? CHILDHOOD RUINED!
posted by alasdair at 10:57 AM on February 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


And the whale could be looming behind the dinosaur model, almost threatening to shove it out of the way, visualising how mammals replaced the dinosaurs

Yeah! and there could be a sotto voce audio track of the whale muttering "Gonna gitcha, gonna gitcha gonagitcha!" and we could put a shiv in his fin.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:58 AM on February 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, what about Disney movie ONE OF DINOSAURS IS MISSING? I'm sure that's Dippy. And it's a classic! I loved it as a kid!

[YouTubes] Ah, it's full of racist charicatures of Chinese people. As you were.
posted by alasdair at 11:03 AM on February 1, 2015


The whale mall at the Queensland Museum, which is a short walk away. They're humpbacks, so not quite as big as a Blue Whale. Whale calls are constantly piped in to sooth visitors and slowly make the staff insane.
posted by adept256 at 11:10 AM on February 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


They're humpbacks, so not quite as big as a Blue Whale.

Not quite indeed.

Humpback: 15m, 36t
Blue: 30m, 190t
posted by Sys Rq at 11:17 AM on February 1, 2015


This is the same museum's tyrannosaurus rex. Not quite as big as a diplodocus, but thankfully no t-rex roars on a loop.
posted by adept256 at 11:30 AM on February 1, 2015


This is my most favorite museum building. The natural history detailing built into the building are just wonderful and kind of whimsical.
posted by srboisvert at 11:49 AM on February 1, 2015


So my very close friend is the Natural History Museum's Head of Media Relations, and boy, was Thursday busy for her - woken up at 6am by Sky News and flat out for the rest of the day. For a plaster-cast of a dinosaur skeleton. While it's very cool, I fail to see how it even slightly compares with a REAL blue whale skeleton, except on the grounds of fuzzy nostalgia. It's been there 36 years or w/e, time for a change. The kids of tomorrow which go in and see the Whale will end up inspired and fascinated in the same way that when Pepsi changed their logo some years ago, that became the logo for the kids of today, er, wait, no, that's not where I was going with this, argh help
posted by bookbook at 12:23 PM on February 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


The thing is, the diplodocus is an example of an extinct species, so the whale doesn't fulfill the same role. Shouldn't we just wait a couple decades for the whales to go extinct as well?
posted by happyroach at 2:00 PM on February 1, 2015


> : While it's very cool, I fail to see how it even slightly compares with a REAL blue whale skeleton

Because dinosaur.
Children don't care that it's a plaster replica; they don't know that when they first encounter it, and it's that first impression that counts. And lasts.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:26 PM on February 1, 2015


Shouldn't we just wait a couple decades for the whales to go extinct as well?

Ideally, but the sweet spot between "extinction of whales" and "postapocalyptic tribal warfare over stashes of canned peas" probably isn't going to be that long. Best to get a head start on those regrets. "If only we had done something! I mean... were doing something."
posted by No-sword at 2:37 PM on February 1, 2015


I'm thinking now that diplodocus would beat that whale in a fight. It would know to jab one of its poisonous electric tentacle extensions right down the blue's blowhole and just drown the sucker while it was paralyzed. Everyone knows they had those tentacles.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 3:27 PM on February 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


My daughter tells me there's no such thing as a diplodocus anymore. (Nor a brontosaurus.) As the official name is now brachiosaur. She also says the particular pronunciations 'PET-rodactyl' and 'PUH-TER-rodactyl' are dead and it's a plain-sounding T nowadays. She could just be messing with me, I suppose.
*discarded in the wash of time* #discarded in the wash of time

It's amazing to me that thing has only been up there for 35 years, I kinda thought it had been there for ever.
posted by glasseyes at 2:22 AM on February 2, 2015


She also says the particular pronunciations 'PET-rodactyl' and 'PUH-TER-rodactyl' are dead and it's a plain-sounding T nowadays.

So like always?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:39 AM on February 2, 2015


My daughter tells me there's no such thing as a diplodocus anymore. (Nor a brontosaurus.) As the official name is now brachiosaur.

Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus are very different animals, and the former is still around. Check out this image to see a comparison of the two animals.

She also says the particular pronunciations 'PET-rodactyl' and 'PUH-TER-rodactyl' are dead and it's a plain-sounding T nowadays.

As far as I am aware the "P" has always been silent. I've never heard your pronunciations before.
posted by brundlefly at 10:55 AM on February 2, 2015


Here's another comparison: a mount of Brachiosaurus at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin; the largest mounted dinosaur skeleton in the world.*

The "little" skeleton behind it is Diplodocus.

*muffuletta took me to see this when I was a lad. So amazing to see.
posted by brundlefly at 11:49 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


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