You’re looking for an easy-to-use list of state dinos? We’ve got you covered! It’s always fun to see which dinosaurs made the list. Scientists are constantly digging up dinosaur bones and discovering new species.
Massachusetts was the last state to name an official dinosaur in 2022. Podokesaurus holyokensis, or ‘fleetfooted lizard,” was discovered in 1910 in western Massachusetts by Mount Holyoke College professor Mignon Talbot, also making her the very first woman in America to find, discover, name and describe a dinosaur!
Not all states have an official dinosaur. Montana has dinosaur trails, but no official state dino. Find out which states made the list and why.
Sonorasaurus Thompsoni (2018)
This “Sonora lizard” was named after geology student Richard Thompson. He didn’t use trace fossils, but rather a nearly-complete skeleton that was weathering away on a wall of rock in a previously unexplored part of the Sonoran Desert. This brachiosaurus was almost named “Chihuahuahsaurus” but paleontologist Ronald Paul Ratkevich with the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum thought that made this dino sound like a tiny dog. Lol!
Arkansaurus fridayi (2017)
Circling vultures in 1972 led Locksburg Arkansas service station owner Joe B. Freitag to some strange bones poking through a gravel ditch following local roadwork. He dug them up – three claws, four phalanges and three metatarsals – to display in his station. The fossils were displayed in his station and Dr. James H. Quinn, a paleontologist, noticed them. Quinn determined they were related to Ornithomimus. Quinn presented the specimens at the 1973 Geological Society of America Meeting. Quinn, who was a six to fifteen foot tall omnivore who ate both plants and meat, died while fossil-prospecting in Nevada before he had the chance to name it. Mason Cypress Oury proposed that Arkansaurus Fridayi be named the State dinosaur.
Augustynolophus Morrisi (2017)
California is famous for its La Brea Tarpits and dinosaur fossils found there. Saurolophus, the dinosaur relative of the Augustyns (friends the Los Angeles County Museum), is the name of this dinosaur. This herbivorous dinosaur was discovered in California’s Moreno Formation. It is the only specimen known.
Since 1982, Stegosaurus “covered lizard” has technically been the official state fossil, not dinosaur, of Colorado. The first (1876) stegosaurus fossils were found in Colorado and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science even displays a skeleton unearthed by a local teacher and Canon City High School students. The brain in the head of this 10-ton giant was the size of a walnut, but research suggests a second, larger brain was in its… hindquarters!
Dilophosaurus wetherilli (2017:
This “two-crested lizard,” was among the earliest large predatory dinosaurs, thanks to its serrated teeth. It was once the largest North American animal. It is one of the most popular Jurassic Park characters today. A smaller version (!) was given this ability. It was fictionalized to have the ability to spit poison and expand its neck frill. Based on the tracks found in Connecticut, it was designated as Connecticut’s state dinosaur.
Dryptosaurus anquilunguis (2020)
This “tearing lizard” lived over 60 million years ago. The two-ton carnivorous dinosaur dominated the Cretaceous period. Dryptosaurus, named by OthnielC.Marsh in 1877 is among the earliest theropods that science has ever known.
Astrodon johnstoni (1998)
This dino’s scientific name, Astrodon, means “star tooth.” Found in 1859 by John D. Latchford in his open iron ore pit near Prince George’s County, this planteating sauropod is the second dino species ever identified in the United States. It was named in 1998 after Baltimore Dental College Professor Christopher Johnston who discovered the star pattern within the first Astrodon Johnstoni tooth.
Hypsibema Missouriensis (2004
Neosaurus, and then Parrosaurus, missouriensis were the names of Missouri’s duck-billed state dinosaur. The first bones – 13 vertebrae of a tail – were found in 1942 while digging a family cistern near Glen Allen. This was the only dino fossil found in Missouri. In 2004, when House Bill 1209 was passed, Missouri became the sixth official state dinosaur. A full-size H. Missouriensis was displayed at the Bollinger Country Museum of Natural History in 2008.
Hadrosaurus foulkii (1991)
John Hopkins found this duckbilled dino in 1858 when he was digging in a Haddonfield Marl pit. It was the first dinosaur in North America to be identified by more than just teeth. Hadrosaurus became the state dinosaur thanks to Mrs. Berry’s campaign and her fourth grade class at Strawbridge Primary School in Haddon Townships.
Acrocanthosaurus Atokensis (2006
This “high-spined lizard” lived across North America during the Early Cretaceous period. The spiny predator’s fossil remains have been found from Maryland to Wyoming. Acrocanthosaurus, at 40 feet long and four tons in weight, was the largest theropod of its ecosystem. Its name comes from the Greek words for “thorn” and “lizard,” and Atoka County in Oklahoma, where the first fossils were found. The largest and most complete skeleton, nicknamed ‘Fran,’ was recovered from the Antlers Formation of Oklahoma and now resides in the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
Sauroposeidon proteles (2009)
When the first fossil remains of this “lizard earthquake god” and last known North American sauropod were found in 1994, they were so old and unusual in size that they were misidentified as petrified wood! It has been ranked among the tallest (55 ft), heaviest (60.0 tons) and longest dinosaurs (110 feet). It is thought that the weight of the dinosaur must have caused the ground to shake when it walked.
Utahraptor ostrommaysorum (2018)
Its name means “Utah’s predator,” and this Early Cretaceous period carnivore, was roughly the size of a modern grizzly bear. The first fossils were found in 1975 near Moab but didn’t gain attention until 1991, when a large foot claw was uncovered in Gaston Quarry in Grand County. Originally, the species was to be named Steven Spielberg. However, ostrommaysi, which honors paleontologist John Ostrom as well as Chris Mays, founder and CEO of Dinamation International’s robotics effects, won out.
Triceratops hordus (1994).
Named for its “three-horned face,” this frilled herbivore was among the last non-avian dinosaurs to disappear during the Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction 66 million years ago. This dino star, who has been featured in movies and on stamps, was mistakenly identified as a large, unusual bison when the first fossils were discovered. Six years before becoming Wyoming’s State Dinosaur, it was named the State Fossil of South Dakota.
This list of state dinosaurs article previously appeared in Rock & Gem magazine. Subscribe here! Story by L.A. Sokolowski.
The post List of State Dinosaurs first appeared on Rock & Gem Magazine.