What's Your State Fossil?

Mar 22, 2016

Acrocanthosaurus atokensis, Oklahoma's state fossil, rendered during courtship.
Credit Xing Lida / Wikimedia Commons

You may know your state flower, but do you know your state fossil? According to The Atlantic, since the 1960s, most US states have elected their own official fossils. Often, the choice comes down to a dinosaur that was discovered in the region. For example, Colorado has claimed the Stegosaurus, since the plate-backed dinosaur was first found there. And Texas officials chose the Paluxysaurus Jonesi, a massive creature whose fossil was discovered near the Jones Ranch in Hood County.

It’s estimated this dinosaur measured 70 feet long and 12 feet high at the shoulder. Oklahoma claims a dinosaur discovered in Atoka County in the 1940s. This fearsome beast had spines on its back and three six-inch claws on each forearm.

And Kansas opted for two state fossils: the flying Pteranodon with its 20-foot wingspan, and the aquatic Tylosaurus, a 45-foot flippered lizard.