'Hope' the whale replaces 'Dippy' as London museum's skeleton star

July 13, 2017
A 25.2 metre (83-foot) skeleton of a blue whale called 'Hope' suspended from the ceiling after being unveiled at the Natural History Museum in London on July 13, 2017

"Hope" the blue whale takes over from "Dippy" the dinosaur as the centrepiece of the revamped atrium of London's Natural History Museum on Thursday despite a spirited campaign to keep the much-loved attraction.

The towering replica skeleton had been in the museum for more than 100 years and news of its impending demise in 2015 sparked an outcry from dinosaur fans who sent the hashtag #savedippy trending on Twitter.

Some 14,000 people signed a petition to stop the move.

But the museum said the skeleton of the , the largest animal to have lived on Earth and which has been hunted to near extinction, would better raise awareness of mankind's impact on nature.

The 25.2-metre (83-foot) real skeleton suspended from the ceiling "is a powerful reminder of the fragility of life and the responsibility we have towards our planet," museum director Michael Dixon said.

The whale was previously in the mammals section but was not fully in view and will now take centre stage in the diving lunge feeding position in Hintze Hall, a cathedral-like space built in the late 19th century.

Fans of "Dippy" need not despair as the replica will in any case be preserved for posterity in a bronze cast to be placed outside the .

Prince William's wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, is due to attend a gala launch reception for "Hope" later on Thursday along with famous British conservationist David Attenborough.

A detail of a 25.2 metre (83-foot) skeleton of a blue whale called 'Hope' suspended from the ceiling after being unveiled at the Natural History Museum in London on July 13, 2017

There were estimated to be around 250,000 blue in the world's oceans in the 1800s but commercial hunting brought the species to the brink of extinction in the 1960s with just 400 specimens left.

Legal protection from hunting has since seen their levels rise up to around 20,000 now.

The on display is of a whale that became stranded in Wexford Harbour in Ireland in 1891, 10 years after the opening of the Natural History Museum.

A 25.2 metre (83-foot) skeleton of a blue whale named 'Hope' pictured suspended from the ceiling after being unveiled at the Natural History Museum in London on July 13, 2017

Explore further: Dinosaur no more: UK museum's Dippy to be retired in 2017

Related Stories

Second ancient whale found in Italy

April 2, 2007

The skeleton of a 33-foot-long prehistoric whale has been discovered in what was once an ancient seabed in Italy's Tuscany region.

Recommended for you

Neanderthal boy's skull grew like a human child's: study

September 21, 2017

The first analysis of a Neanderthal boy's skull uncovered in Spain suggests that he grew much like a modern boy would, in another sign that our extinct ancestors were similar to us, researchers said Thursday.

Early trilobites had stomachs, new fossil study finds

September 21, 2017

Exceptionally preserved trilobite fossils from China, dating back to more than 500 million years ago, have revealed new insights into the extinct marine animal's digestive system. Published today in the journal PLOS ONE, ...

Big herbivorous dinosaurs ate crustaceans as a side dish

September 21, 2017

Some big plant-eating dinosaurs roaming present-day Utah some 75 million years ago were slurping up crustaceans on the side, a behavior that may have been tied to reproductive activities, says a new University of Colorado ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.