Today: Thu 19 Oct 2017

So long, Dippy! Natural history museum unveils 'Hope' the blue whale

Farewell Dippy: Natural History Museum replaces popular dinosaur centrepiece with blue whale named Hope to inspire love of the living world.

Diving majestically down from the heights of the Natural History Museum’s grand entrance hall, this is Hope the blue whale, greeting visitors with jaws open wide.

It’s a long way from a lonely sandbank off the south-east coast of Ireland where the giant mammal was found thrashing for its life more than a century ago before a sailor put it out of its misery.

From today, Hope takes prime position as the museum’s most jaw-dropping exhibit and the first that most visitors will see. It replaces Dippy the diplodocus whose replica skeleton had graced the entrance hall since 1979.

The 20-year-old female blue whale had struggled for survival for a day after getting stuck on a sandbank near Wexford in 1891 before lifeboat pilot Edward Wickham killed it with an improvised harpoon.

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