Fun Fact: US States Have Official State Dinosaurs and Fossils

This is off-track from writing but I simply could not keep this information to myself. If you live in the United States, your state may have an official fossil or even better, a dinosaur.

I know, right–this is uber cool.

State legislatures love to name official things for their states. There are state birds, state flowers, state animals, but in the 70s and 80s a few states decided they needed to honor the animals from prehistory.

So here are a few:

State Fossil = Basilosaurus whale
This is an early whale that lived 40 million years ago in the Eocene period.

Wooly Mammoth!!!

State Fossil = Wooly Mammoth
Closely related to the Asian Elephant, the Mammoth was covered in fur and had small ears so they wouldn’t get frostbitten!

State Fossil = Saber-toothed Cat
Turns out the Saber-toothed cat wasn’t very cat-like. In fact it had a build similar to a bear.


State Dinosaur = Stegosaurus armatus
Their heads stayed low to the ground and their tales high!

State Fossil = Pteranodon
These flying animals had a wingspan of 18 feet.

State Dinosaur = Duck-billed dinosaur
They laid their eggs in spirals and incubated them with rotting vegetation similar to how a compost heap works.

State Fossil = Trilobite
The earliest trilobites have dated back to 540 million years ago.


South Dakota.
State Dinosaur = Triceratops
Paleontologists think their frill served the same purpose as antlers on reindeer…for mating displays.

State Dinosaur = Allosaurus
The Allosaurus was the top of the food chain.

West Virginia.
State Fossil = Jefferson’s Ground Sloth
Future U.S. President Thomas Jefferson presented the first fossil specimen in 1797 to the American Philosophical Society.

Does your state have a state dinosaur or a state fossil? Go look it up!!

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Aidee Ladnier

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