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Massachusetts may soon get an official state dinosaur

Published Jan 8th, 2021 11:41PM EST
state dinosaur
Image: letfluis/Adobe

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  • A state lawmaker in Massachusetts wants the state to decide on and declare an official state dinosaur.
  • State Representative Jack Lewis is preparing to file legislation declaring an official dinosaur for the state. 
  • The state dinosaur has to be a dinosaur that was discovered within the state, and unfortunately, the list is rather short.

States declare all kinds of things for themselves. There are state birds, state flowers, state foods, and just about everything else, including official state dinosaurs. Not every state has declared an official dinosaur for itself, and there are currently only twelve states with dinosaur representatives if you will. Now, it looks like there is about to be another one.

State Rep. Jack Lewis of Massachusetts has declared that he wants there to be an official state dinosaur. In a tweet this week, Lewis stated that he intends to file legislation on January 15th to name the state’s dinosaur, but he didn’t want to make the decision alone. Instead, he’s taking a poll, and there are only two options.

On a Google poll set up by Lewis, he says the following:

Later this month, I will file legislation to designate an official “State Dinosaur” and I need your help! Twelve states have already designated an official “State Dinosaur,” and with your help, maybe Massachusetts will be next.

The dinosaurs up for consideration are Podokesaurus holyokensis and Anchisaurus polyzelus. While they aren’t the largest dinosaurs to roam the planet, they begin to tell the story of how dinosaurs came to rule the Earth.

The thing about naming a state anything is that it has to have some sort of tangible connection to the state itself. State flowers typically grow in large numbers in the state that claims them, for example. When it comes to dinosaurs, the general trend is for states to name a dinosaur that was discovered in that state. In the case of Massachusetts, that means deciding between Podokesaurus holyokensis, a carnivore that grew up to six feet in length, and Anchisaurus polyzelus, an herbivore that measured roughly the same but weighed slightly less.

But why name a state dinosaur at all? It might sound like a silly tradition — and perhaps that’s why only 12 states have partaken in it thus far — but Lewis has a good reason for wanting the state to claim a dinosaur for its own. In his tweet announcing the poll, Lewis states that he wants the naming of the state dinosaur to be a lesson that gets kids interested in the legislative process.

Honestly, that’s a lovely idea, and perhaps more states should name dinosaurs of their own. I’m certainly no kid, but even I enjoy the idea of states claiming dinosaurs for themselves. I hope my home state of Wisconsin does the same.