California Has Its Own Official Dinosaur – The Augustynolophus

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California Has Its Own Official Dinosaur – The Augustynolophus

California Has Its Own Official Dinosaur - The Augustynolophus
California Has Its Own Official Dinosaur – A rendering of how scientists think the Augustynolophus morrisi dinosaur looked. Image credits: Richard H. Bloom / Twitter.

The Augustynolophus has now been adopted by California as the state official dinosaur. And even though California does have a state flower (the poppy), a state reptile (the desert tortoise), a state animal (the grizzly bear), as well as a state rock (serpentine), and even a state fossil (the sabre-tooth cat), among many others, the new addition is a welcomed one.

The Augustynolophus was a herbivorous hadrosaur from the Cretaceous period that lived, among other places, on where California now is. Gov. Jerry Brown announced the signing of the bill that will put this dinosaur in its rightful place, as a means to “nurture an educational opportunity for the youngest Californians to become interested in palaeontology.”

Like all the other hadrosaurs, the Augustynolophus morrisi, as it’s officially called, was a duck-billed, herbivorous dinosaur. Its bill was specially made to chew down on plants. It roamed what is today California, some 100 to 66 million years ago, up until the Late Cretaceous period, when one huge meteorite slammed into the Earth and, in a sense, made the planet as we know it today.

The Augustynolophus stood at 10 feet tall (3 meters) and 30 meters long (9 meters), but we don’t really know much more beyond that since the fossil record is not too generous. Paleontologists hope that this new nomination will help inspire a new generation of people into their field who will, one day, find out more about this duck-billed dinosaur.

Back during the Late Cretaceous period, California, as we know it today, was an island continent, separated from the rest of North America by the Western Interior Seaway. Augustynolophus fossils have only been found here.

In any case, California isn’t the only state to have an official dinosaur. Colorado has the Stegosaurus, Iowa boasts with the Tyrannosaurus, while Wyoming comes in with the Triceratops. The District of Columbia also has its own official dinosaur, aptly called Capitalsaurus. Now, this is not some sort of pun on the political class of Washington DC, even though that would have been funny as hell. Capitalsaurus, or Creosaurus potens and Dryptosaurus potens, as its official name, was an actual dinosaur whose fossils were found only here.

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