The Natural History Museum’s iconic Diplodocus dinosaur skeleton is set to visit the Ulster Museum as part of a road trip across the UK, as he ventures out of London for the first time since 1905.
Dippy will start his journey in 2018 and spend two years touring eight venues, on a mission to inspire the next generation of scientists and natural history enthusiasts.
A total of 90 venues were eager to take him in, when there was an open-call in 2015.
Kathryn Thomson, Chief Executive of National Museums Northern Ireland said: “We are thrilled that Dippy will be coming to the Ulster Museum in Belfast, where he can be assured of a very warm Northern Irish welcome!
“It will give us a fantastic platform to uncover and connect to stories from our own extensive Natural Sciences collection.
“We look forward to creating an exciting programme of events for Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure that will appeal to all ages and inspire our visitors to engage more with the natural world in our area.”
The full 292-bone skeleton in its displayed pose is an impressive 21.3 metres long, 4.3 metres wide and 4.25 metres high.
Since his unveiling in the Natural History Museum in 1905, Dippy has gone on to enjoy stardom – featuring in newspaper cartoons, news reports and even playing starring roles in film and television.
The Diplodocus was first described as a new type of dinosaur by Professor Othniel C Marsh at Yale University in 1878.
The species lived sometime between 156 and 145 million years ago and belongs to a group called sauropods, meaning ‘lizard feet’.
When US railroad workers unearthed the fossilised bones of a Diplodocus in Wyoming in 1898, newspapers billed the discovery as the “most colossal animal ever on Earth”.
Sir Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum, said: “We wanted Dippy to visit a variety of locations so he can draw in people that may not traditionally visit a museum.
“Making iconic items accessible to as many people as possible is at the heart of what museums give to the nation, so we have ensured that Dippy will still be free to view at all tour venues.
“We look forward to inspiring five million natural history adventures and encouraging children from across the country to develop a passion for science and nature.
“Few museum objects are better known - surely no one object better evokes the awesome diversity of species that have lived on Earth?”