GAUN intae the Kelvingrove Airt Gallery an Museum oan a Seterday in the Pace hoalidays we passed mair nor a dizzen bairns an adults weirin dinosaur-relatit claes. Jaikits, jerseys, dresses – awbody seekin tae shaw thir luve fir Dippy.

Gin ye dinnae bide in Glesga, ye’ve mibbe no heard tell o Dippy the diplodocus, a hundert-year-auld cast o a diplodocus carnegii frae the Natural History Museum in London that’s stravaigin aroon the fower nations fir a couple year as pairt o Dippy on Tour. The second pairt o Dippy’s fou name, ‘carnegii’, mibbes alerts ye tae the connection wi Andra Carnegie o Dumfarlin, wha fundit the howkin o the oríginal skeleton in America an hid casts made fir a wheen o heids o state, includin giein ane tae the Natural History Museum.

An the tour is gaun great guns. By the stert o Apríl, Dippy hid a million visitors in total in the fower museums it’s been tae sae far. Near eneuch hauf o thae vísitors his bin at Kelvingrove sin it arrivit in Januar. An thir’s still time tae add yersel tae thae nummers – it’ll be in Glesga till Mey 6.

Glesga – an ye’ll need tae stell yersel fir this, dear reader – IS PURE DIPPY FIR DIPPY. There. We were aw thinkin it. But seein the muckle prehistoric craitur surroondit by dizzens o fowk – auld an young, monie races an genders, ivvry kind o phone camera ye can think oan – it made me wunner whit it is aboot “remains” that thrills. Dippy is mibbe jist a cast, but through Dippy’s lang-shanks ye can see the Kelvingrove’s West Haw, wi stuffed pappingays, tammie-norries, seals, an a elephant cried Sir Roger. An gin ye hae a daunder up the stair tae the History Discovery Centre ye can fund some skeletons o human beins an aw.

Noo, human skeletons – or een better, mummies – an stappit birds is near eneuch whit the general public think a museum is. Mibbe wi some paintins o lassies in the scud fir guid meisure. Bit displayin human remains is mair o a pynt fir debate nor displayin dinosaur banes. No that lang syne, museums thocht o human banes an burial guids as objects like onie ither in the collection. Bit the lang fecht o activists amang Australian Aboriginies, New Zealand Maori an Native Americans fir tae get the remains o their forebeirs repatriatit his chynged the conversation. This month Germany is returnin the remains o 53 ancestors o Aboriginal Australians efter a naitional commitment tae a policy o repatriation.

Whit is it aboot a corp bein auld or frae furth o thir islands that means we see it as fair game fir display? We can aye lairn aboot the practices an lifes o auncient fowk frae beerials. But we can lairn aboot the recent past the same wey, an yet we dinnae. So hoo come we display a skeleton frae 2018BC but no 2018AD?

Pairt o it is the thocht that thir’s mibbe fowk alive wha kent thon person. But gin somebody deed this year an didnae hae ony connections wi the lívin, we’d no likely put them in ahint gless at the Kelvingrove, alang wi the buiks, or jewellery, or bairnie toys they wantit tae be yirdit wi.

Mibbe we hink, “Aye, weil, we ken whit that person wis wantin aifter daith, mair nor the remains o a body that deed thoosans o year syne.” Nah. Aften archaeologists hae a richt clear idea o hoo a person wantit tae be beeried and whit they felt they needit tae get intae or tae thrive in the aifterlife. Ken hoo archeologists ken that? Because they tak them oot o that exact situation tae study, an mibbe display them.

Thir’s bin a muckle shift in thinkin aboot curatin human remains ower the last twenty year. In the Kelvingrove, alangside the pairtial skelets o three fowk beeried in Dumbartonshire – includin the skull o a bairn still wi thir wee milk teeth – is a note frae the curators seyin hoo they howp tae shaw human remains wi respect, an speirin the opínion o vísitors oan the display.

Richt eneuch, in the database collectit bi the organisation Honouring the Ancient Dead, Glasgow Life his gien a shinin exaimple o transpairency anent thir practices an policies o wirkin wi oor ancestors. Some museums is tryin pittin a hap o linen ower Mummies oan display, lowerin the lichts oan cases wi remains in them, takin some aff public display aw thigither an hainin them in storage. But tae me, aw that seems the actions o fowk that ken, in thir ain banes: we suidnae be daein this at aw.

The wey we treat hings, een inanimate objects, affecks the wey we respect yin anither. The past is anither kintra no jist acause they dae hings different there, bit acause we hink o it as somewhaur tae exploit fir oor ain gain – tae colonise ower an ower. Thinkin o fowk unkistit in Dumbartonshire or Egypt as fowk, an no as schuil projects, will mibbe help us think o lívin fowk as fowk. It’s no the mainstream thocht, A ken. Feel free tae cry me Dippy fir suggestin it.