Legislature weighs proposal for official state dinosaur
Mar 25, 2019, 4:51 PM | Updated: 7:05 pm
A bill was introduced in the Washington State House Monday, proposing to make the Suciasaurus rex the official state dinosaur.
The Suciasaurus rex is named after the first and only dinosaur fossil found in Washington state, at Sucia Island State Park in the San Juans in 2012.
The fossil itself is a portion of a left femur of a theropod, a bipedal class of dinosaurs that includes the likes of the Tyrannosaurus rex, Velociraptor, and more. Experts aren’t certain which specific theropod it belongs to, but predominant evidence points to a Daspletosaurus, a close, smaller relative to the T-rex.
The bill — sponsored by 30 Democrats and a pair of Republicans — looks to commemorate a unique slice of Washington history. Dinosaurs aren’t common to the Evergreen State, thanks to its proximity to an active tectonic plate boundary.
Scientists theorize that the Suciasaurus rex actually originated somewhere around California, later hitching a ride on a portion of the western edge of North America that was eventually displaced to British Columbia in the Late Cretaceous period (a theory that has proved controversial in some circles).
Washington would join seven other states in having a designated state dinosaur, including Colorado (Stegosaurus), Maryland (Astrodon), Missouri (Hypsibema missouriensis), New Jersey (Hadrosaurus), Oklahoma (Acrocanthosaurus), Wyoming (Triceratops), and Texas (Paluxysaurus). Washington, D.C. also has its own official dinosaur, aptly dubbed the Capitalsaurus.
The Suciasaurus rex fossil currently resides at Seattle’s Burke Museum.