In the entrance Hall of the Natural History Museum in London the first exhibit that you see is the skeleton of Diplodocus, a giant of an animal that grew to 35m long, weighed 15 tonnes and that was in his heyday to be found munching his way through a veggie diet in the mid western USA in the Jurassic period. Me and “Dippy” first met in the 70’s, I was thirteen or so and on a school trip to London, pubescent hormones racing and more interested in girls than old bones, but I could not fail to be impressed by Dippy, despite our age difference ( he was 150 million years older than me, it didn’t seem to matter we got on rather well ). Since those days I’ve revisited the Museum every once in a while, taking my son there thirty years later was one of the best, each visit, always Dippy there, dependably, waiting in the entrance Hall.
Now I read that Dippy is leaving, he is being replaced, after a hundred years. The entrance hall is being changed and Dippy is moving with the times, at first I am pissed about the idea, for me him standing in the entrance, immovable, in your face was just the way things were, surely he couldn’t be moved? That was just wrong. But then I realise that like Dippy and Dinosaurs everything moves and changes, even the things we assume to be fixed and permanent, it is simply that sometimes we don’t want change, but change is inevitable. Dippy no doubt will be found a new home in the museum, he is being replaced by more bones, this time by those of a Whale, a completely different but no less amazing creature, stand next to the skeleton of a whale and you cannot fail to be inspired by the immensity, more still that these creatures, or at least the relatives of the bones going on display are alive and well and swimming the Oceans today. Whales have always fascinated me, there is something about them, not just the size, but the eyes, look into the eyes and I can’t help having the feeling that there is a real awareness there, that these animals think and feel deeply. And more than that when you read up on them you cannot help but be aware that they have many of the emotions and senses that people have. Anyway in short they fascinate me.
Dippy is going, his time is up,he’s making way for a new display, the Whale no doubt will inspire many, children will stand under those bones and be blown away, perhaps in time they will return with their own children like I did with my Son & Dippy, but for me the blindingly obvious is that change isn’t always welcome, but nevertheless it is inevitable and that with change the new display can inspire more than the old. Let go of the Dinosaur and get with the Cetaceans, Dinosaurs are so yesterday.