The 26-metre-long Diplodocus skeleton that dominates the Central Hall of the Natural History Museum in London is one of the world's most famous dinosaur models. Known affectionately as 'Dippy', it has fascinated and enthralled visitors since it was first revealed to an astonished public in 1905. Dippy's tale begins some 150 million years ago in the late part of the Jurassic period - the time from which the original fossil dates. Dippy is an exact plaster replica of the fossilized bones found in the badlands of Wyoming, USA. The story of how Dippy came to the Museum is one that involves danger and adventure in the harsh environment of the American Wild West, the generosity of an eccentric millionaire and the involvement of the British royal family.
The book combines an engaging narrative with details of dinosaur discoveries and the latest research on Diplodocus anatomy and behaviour. It also reveals the emergence of Dippy's importance to scientists, as studies on Diplodocus kick-started a renaissance in the understanding of the biology of the group it belongs to, the sauropods. Featuring delightful artworks and photographs throughout, this is both an engaging tale of discovery and a guide to one of the longest land animals ever to walk the Earth.
Dr Paul Barrett is a researcher in the Palaeontology Department of the Natural History Museum, London. He is the author of National Geographic Dinosaurs and is a regular contributor to numerous books, journals and magazines on the study of dinosaurs. Polly Parry is the Museum Archivist and Records Manager and has an indepth knowledge of the building's history, its collections and people. Sandra Chapman works as a curator in the Palaeontology Department.