Dippy’s passing shines light on a new era for natural history museums.

Last week, the Natural History Museum in London announced it would be replacing its beloved entry way dinosaur, Dippy, with a blue whale skeleton. People were in uproar over the loss of this iconic figure taking to Twitter with #saveDippy.

I believe that the bold move by the NHM speaks to what the role of natural history museums should be: to showcase and preserve ancient and modern life.

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Dinosaurs are cool, there is no denying it. But so are blue whales! By changing the face of the NHM, the museum is showcasing the wonderfully large and bizarre creatures that exist on earth today. The blue whale is the largest animal to ever live. Yes, bigger than the dinosaurs. So why shouldn’t we showcase this feat of evolutionary wonderful size? Every time I look up at the big blue whale in Beaty Biodiversity Museum or at the Natural History Museum of LA County, I can’t help be realize how special of a time we live. Can you believe it? You get to walk the earth at the same time as the biggest creature EVER swims in the ocean. Now that’s cool! By moving the focus away from Dippy the dinosaur, the NHM paves the way for a focus on the beautiful biodiversity that we have today. When people realize how special of a time we live in, they may just want to try harder to preserve it.

Think to the future when there are no longer blue whales. Then imagine the wonder and excitement that a child would feel walking into a museum with this almost mythical, gigantic sea creature hanging from above. They’d tell stories and recite nomenclature from their whale book just like kids today tell us all about the dinosaurs.

Thanks to Dippy, Sue, and Thomas, we’ve learned to embrace the preciousness of the gigantic creatures we have today. Let’s focus on them as our mascots of biodiversity into the future before they become part of the past.

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