One Step Closer to a State Dinosaur for California
California is one step closer to joining a select group of American States that have their own State dinosaur. A vote in the “Golden State’s” legislative assembly was passed and the duck-billed dinosaur Augustynolophus morrisi is nearer to becoming the official dinosaur of the most populous State in the Union. California already has a substantial number of State symbols, including the Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), the State marine reptile and the artichoke (Cynara cardunculus), California’s State vegetable.
The Hadrosaur Augustynolophus morrisi Could Become the State Dinosaur for California
Picture Credit: Augustynolophus Twitter Account
Assembly member, Richard Bloom, the representative for Santa Monica, introduced a bill at the beginning of the year to make this Late Cretaceous, duck-billed dinosaur a state symbol. The vote yesterday moved Augustynolophus nearer to becoming adopted. Augustynolophus (pronounced August-steen-ah-pho-lus mor-riss-eye) fossils, including a fragmentary skull, have been found in the Moreno Formation, the fossils represent the most complete dinosaur discovered in California. In fact, despite California’s size, it is the third largest State in the United States, very few dinosaurs are associated with this part of America. We at Everything Dinosaur, think that just one other dinosaur genus Saurolophus is associated with California and these fossils, also from the Moreno Formation, may have been reassigned to Augustynolophus.
The reason why lawmakers in California are keen to adopt a dinosaur as a symbol is that they hope that the dinosaur will promote learning and support educational opportunities. California already has an official state fossil, Smilodon californicus – a sub-species of Sabre-Toothed Cat known from the famous La Brea Tar Pits close to the centre of Los Angeles.
Augustynolophus has its own Twitter account (@augustynolophus), you can follow the progress of the legislation on Twitter. The Californian Senate have to vote and if the outcome is favourable then the Governor will have the final say.
Only seven of the fifty States that make up the USA have official State dinosaurs:
- Wyoming – Triceratops
- Texas – Paluxysaurus jonesi (Sauroposeidon)
- Oklahoma – Acrocanthosaurus atokensis
- New Jersey – Hadrosaurus foulkii
- Missouri – Hypsibema missouriensis
- Maryland – Astrodon johnstoni
- Colorado – Stegosaurus armatus
To read an article about British Columbia debating whether to introduce an official fossil for the Canadian Province: Four Contenders for the Official Fossil for Canadian Province