Dippy the Diplodocus begins UK tour - when and where to see it

After spending more than a century delighting visitors in London, Dippy the Diplodocus has embarked on a UK tour.

The 26 metre long plaster cast of the dinosaur skeleton has stood in the entrance hall of the Natural History Museum in London since 1979, but now it's on the move for the next three years.

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It's estimated that 5 million people will see Dippy at the eight locations across the UK, which have all been chosen to cover the grand sweep of geological time.

Dippy in its new temporary home in Dorchester (Photo: Natural History Museum)

The tour begins on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, and ends in Norwich, exploring how we might secure a sustainable future. It will also visit Birmingham, Belfast, Glasgow, Newcastle, Cardiff and Rochdale.

Dippy only just squeezed into Dorset County Museum in Dorchester, with 4in (10cm) to spare, where it went on display at the weekend.

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Dippy the Diplodocus tour dates in full:

10 February - 7 May 2018: Dorset County Museum, Dorchester26 May - 9 September 2018: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham28 September 2018 - 6 January 2019: Ulster Museum, Belfast22 January - 5 May 2019: Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow18 May - 6 October 2019: Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle upon Tyne19 October 2019 - 26 January 2020: National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff10 February - 28 June 2020: Number One Riverside, Rochdale11 July - 31 October 2020: Norwich Cathedral, Norwich

Dippy in its former home at the Natural History Museum

Dippy has delighted visitors since he arrived in London in 1905.

Watch a timelapse of Dippy being installed in Dorchester:

Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, which is supporting the tour, said: "Generations of children have been awestruck by Dippy’s spectacular presence at the heart of the Natural History Museum and we hope he continues to inspire the nation to rediscover nature as he works his way round the UK. The Foundation’s Trustees are looking forward to Dippy taking pride of place in the different venues and to seeing children enthused and engaged by the wildlife around them."

Dippy has been replaced by a blue whale skeleton at the Natural History Museum.

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Diplodocus facts

Dippy - a member of the Diplodocus carnegii species - would have lived between 145 million and 156 million years ago in North America, at the end of the Jurassic period.

A Diplodocus has 292 bones, although Dippy comes together in 86 pieces.

The meaning of the name Diplodocus is 'double beamed lizard' - in reference to its double-beamed chevron bones located in the underside of the tail.

They were plant eaters with peg-like teeth, designed for stripping the leaves from ferns

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Early research believed that Diplodocuses would have stood with their necks high in the air. However, more recent studies have suggested the neutral position was more likely to have been horizontal.

They are the longest known dinosaur, and could measure up to 27 metres. They weighed about 12 tons (equivalent to a large truck).