The Dippy dinosaur raises its elegant neck to the vaulted ceiling of Hall Hall at the Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow. The skeleton of the 21-meter-long replica diplodocus seems indifferent before the anticipated flood of young fans during Easter school holidays in Scotland.
Since the much-loved exhibition of the Museum of Natural History arrived in January at the only Scottish stop on its three-year tour of the United Kingdom, the reception has been spectacular, with more than 373,000 visitors so far, surpbading the next most popular, Birmingham, for more than 100,000.
"It has taken everyone by surprise," says Ann Ainsworth, curator of geology at the Kelvingrove Museum. "We expected it to be popular, but we did not expect these figures, it's an amazing specimen, it looks spectacular and it fits very well in our central hall."
The arrival of Dippy was a kind of return home. The replica of 292 bones was commissioned by Scottish industrialist Andrew Carnegie, who financed the excavation of the original fossilized skeleton in the US state of Wyoming in 1899, as the centerpiece of his new museum in Pittsburgh, and made a plaster mold made in The request of Eduardo VII.
But the visit of the sauropod has also sealed the romance of Scotland with the dinosaurs, thanks to the unexpected arrival of another famous reptile to Glasgow later this month. Dippy sets out for his next place at the Great North Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne, in early May, but for a few weeks dinosaur fans will also be able to see the Diplodocus and Trix, one of the best preserved. tyrant-saurian Rex Skeletons in the world, a simple prehistoric step across the street from the museum in the newly renovated Kelvin Hall.
"It's completely coincidental that they both show up together," says Ainsworth. "They are from two very different groups and lived at different times, so it offers a much more complete picture of what the story of the dinosaurs is about."
Scotland has long been at the forefront of dinosaur research and a treasure for paleontologists. The Isle of Skye offers hundreds of tracks, teeth and bones of dinosaurs and is considered one of the most significant fossil sites of the Middle Jurbadic period, approximately 170 m. Years ago, when Scotland was located closer to the equator, with a subtropical climate.
Other world-famous fossils include 445-million-year-old Graptolites from the Borders; the 330-year-old "Bearsden shark" discovered near Glasgow and the most complete specimen of that age; as well as the early reptiles, including the Saltopus the size of a cat, about 230 million years ago, found around Elgin.
"The reason why Scotland is so important is that very few places in the world have middle Jurbadic rocks. [period]"Explains Ainsworth." It provides the only evidence we have about those dinosaurs and is really crucial to our understanding of how they evolved. "
Neil Clark is curator of paleontology at the Hunterian Museum of the University of Glasgow, which directs the arrival of Trix. He explains: "There are more relics of the Middle Jurbadic in Scotland than in North America, where many dinosaurs have been found. It was at that time that many of the dinosaurs we know today, such as sauropods and therapists, were evolving. The reason why we will put some of the Skye fossils on display along with Trix is because we believe it is possible that some of the first T Rex ancestors have evolved in Scotland. "The first evidence that these early ancestors lived in family groups It was also found on Skye, he explains.
The 12-meter-long, five-meter-tall, 67-year-old female will receive her first visitors on April 18, in what will be her only stop in the UK on a European tour that has taken her to Paris, Lisbon and Barcelona. . She is awaiting further excavations at museums that will be completed at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in her hometown of Leiden, in the Netherlands.
Clarke expects a similar increase in interest, since Scotland's enduring fascination with dinosaurs finds another approach. "It is one of the iconic dinosaurs and the favorite of many people, there is a large size of them, no other animal, besides the blue whale, is so big, and I think children especially find the names quite fascinating. a new language ".