You will most likely not be surprised to hear that the subject of dinosaurs rarely comes up in the Board’s typical week-to-week business, but all that changed on Tuesday when the Board voted to put the County on record in support of AB 1540, Asm. Richard Bloom’s bill to establish the duck-billed dinosaur (augustynolophus morrisi) as the official state dinosaur of California.
Existing law establishes the state flag and the state’s emblems, including the saber-toothed cat, Smilodon Californicus, as the official state fossil, designated in 1973. The proposed state dinosaur is deeply connected to our own Natural History Museum (NHM), which is home to the only two, known, specimens, both of which were found in California, and the holotype is on display in the highly-visited Dinosaur Hall. augustynolophus morrisi were herbivores and could be as big as 26 feet long and 11 feet tall.
Additional connections of the duck-billed dinosaur include the fact that Aaugustynolophus morrisi is named after one of NHM’s donors, Gretchen Augustyn, and NHM’s Vice President of Research Collections, Dr. Luis Chiappe, was on the team that named the dinosaur.
Naming the augustynolophus morrisi as the official state dinosaur could bring a benefit to the NHM because visitors and scholars may be drawn to there learn more about it, and visits could inspire children to develop an interest in history and paleontology.