California Has An Official State Dinosaur (that lives in LA)

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The California Dinosaur

A duck-billed hadrosaur named "Auggie" became California's official state dinosaur on Saturday and the only two known fossil specimens of this species (Augustynolophos morrisi) are on display at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

With Governor Jerry Brown’s signature on AB 1540, California joins eight other states and Washington D.C. in having an official state dinosaur.

The bill to establish the dinosaur was led by a law student in 2016. Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) introduced the resulting bill AB1540 to the California State Legislature in February 2017.

A Twitter account for the state dinosaur, @augustynolophus has been established. In its bio, “Auggie,” boasts of being a “Native Californian, Los Angeles resident, older than Jerry Brown (barely), vegetarian, and firm believer in science.”

Augustynolophus has only been found in this state, and represents the most completely known dinosaur from California, including skull material (which is rare) that gives scientists more clues about what the dinosaur looked like.

The two fossils of Augustynolophus morrisi were discovered during fieldwork conducted from 1939-1940 by the California Institute of Technology. One specimen was found in Fresno County in the Moreno Formation, near the geographical center of California. The other specimen was found nearby, in San Benito County. This herbivore lived 66 million years ago in the late Cretaceous period; a contemporary of familiar dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops.

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Anabel Marquez