May 12th

1905 – Diplodocus in London

On this day in dinosaurs, a cast of Diplodocus carnegii was unveiled with English pomp and circumstance at the Natural History Museum in London. Carnegie himself presented the dinosaur to the Museum’s trustees, with a crowd of more than two hundred people in attendance for the ceremony.

Diplodocus unveiling ceremony / Natural History Museum

The plaster-of-paris replica took a year and a half of full time efforts from a team of up to four men. It was (and is) 84 feet long and 15 feet high. The original bones were found in Wyoming several years earlier. It was the King of England himself who requested the dinosaur after seeing an illustration at Carnegie’s Skibo castle in Scotland.

The speeches and public awe that Diplodocus caused in London was just the first appearance of the dinosaur abroad. Nine additional copies of the skeleton would be made and sent around the world, making Diplodocus the first international dinosaur phenomenon.

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