State Officially Adopts Dinosaur

Alexandra Reinecke, Editor-in-Chief

California now has a state dinosaur. And yes, it has a Twitter account.

The Augustynolophus morrisi, a creature which roamed the earth 66 million years ago and whose remains, according to Mercury News, have been found only in California, has joined the list of our many state symbols. This illustrious list includes icons like the grizzly bear, the quail, and the poppy.

Augustynolophus morrisi’s remains were found in nearby Fresno County in 1939 and 1940, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The animal was a herbivore that lived around the same time as species such as the better-known Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus, according to Travel and Leisure.

The push for recognition began last February, and on September 23,  Governor Jerry Brown signed the dinosaur’s status into law. The bill, according to the LA Times, was put forward by state senator Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), who believed it was an essential “educational opportunity for the youngest Californians to become interested in paleontology.”

Proponents of the bill argue that “Seven states, as well as the District of Columbia, have declared a state dinosaur to pay homage to the original creatures to walk the land,” and that the induction of the Augustynolophus morrisi is an opportunity for “California . . . to recognize an important part of our history.”

According to the LA Times, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County timed their annual Dino Fest to coincide with Brown’s approval of the bill. The Dino Fest features paleontologist presentations, rare fossil specimens, a band, and discussion of the portrayal of dinosaurs in a film.

Californians who can’t attend the festival in person can still participate online through Twitter, at the tag @augustynolophus, a page which currently boasts 477 followers and a bio ripe with the kind of wit one might expect of 66 million years’ experience on this planet. “Older than Jerry Brown (barely),” quips the fossilized creature.