U.S states have a variety of symbols that they pick to represent them. these can range form the more common like animals, rocks, flags, birds and flowers. They also have less common symbols adopted like materials, dances and state dinosaurs. we take a look at the state who have adopted dinosaurs as state symbols below.
Currently there are 14 states in the U.S that have adopted in law a state dinosaur, and 2 or 3 that are in the process of doing so. The District of Columbia also has a dinosaur as a symbol. The first state to do so was Colorado when it chose the Stegosaurus as the state dinosaur in 1982
Although choosing state dinosaurs was a slow burn with the first in 1982, and the next in 1991. In recent years this speed has increased and the have been 7 states since 2017, who have chosen state dinosaurs. We will keep this updated as more states follow them. The next one is likely to be Washington.
What are the State Dinosaurs of the United States?
As we mentioned above there are 14, and the District of Columbia, states that have named a dinosaur to represent their state and we have the information below and each state dinosaur has their own page as well.
Table 1: State Dinosaurs of the United States.
The table of state dinosaurs below has links to the pages that offer more details about each state dinosaur. We will endeavour to update it as new dinosaurs are adopted as state symbols.
|State||State Dinosaur||Length||Weight||When Lived||Year Became State Dinosaur|
|Arizona||Sonorasaurus thompsoni||49 feet (15 meters)||50-70,000 lbs (31751.5 kg)||112 – 93 million years ago||2018|
|6-15 feet, 2-4 metres||up to 1000 lbs, 500 kg||100 million years ago||2017|
|California||Augustynolophus morrisi||26 feet (8 meters)||6600 lbs (3,000kg)||70- 66 million years ago||2017|
|Colorado||Stegosaurus armatus||21 – 25 feet (7-8 meters)||7-11,000 lbs (4-5300 kg)||155 – 145 million years ago||1982|
|Connecticut||Dilophosaurus||20 feet (6 metres)||up to 1100 lbs 500 kg)||193 million years ago||2017|
|Delaware||Dryptosaurus aquilunguis||25 feet (7-8 meters)||3400 lbs (1,500 kg)||112 – 93 million years ago||2022|
|District of Columbia||“Capitalsaurus”||1998|
|3-4 feet (1-1.2 metres)||up to 90 lbs 40 kg)||190 million years ago||2021/2022|
|66 feet (20 metres)||up to 46000 lbs 20,000 kg)||112 Million Years ago.||1998|
|Missouri||Parroaurus missouriense||30-35 feet, 9-11 metres||6500 lbs+, 3-4000 kg||113-110 million years ago||2004|
|New Jersey||Hadrosaurus |
|23 to 26 feet (7-8 metres)||up to 8800 lbs 4000kg)||80 -78 million years ago||1991|
|Oklahoma||Acrocanthosaurus atokensis||36-38 feet (11-12 metres)||up to 11,000 lbs 5000 kg)||113-110 million years ago||2006|
|Texas||Sauroposeidon proteles||89-112 feet (27-34 meters)||88-133000 lbs (40-60,000 kg)||118 – 110 million years ago||2009|
|Utah||Utahraptor ostrommaysorum||16 – 23 feet (5-7 metres)||660-1100 lbs 3-500 kg)||135 – 130 million years ago||2018|
|Wyoming||Triceratops horridus||26 plus feet (8+ meters)||16,000 + lbs (7-9,000 kg)||68 – 66 million years ago||1994|
So while every state has its own state symbols only 14 have so far made a dinosaur officially at least, a state symbol. This seems an omission that needs recifying and we are sure in the next few years even more states will be joining in and naming state dinosaurs.
While state symbols have been adopted since 1893, dinosaurs have been around a lot longer than that, and surely their time is coming. As state symbols are supposed to show the diversity of the state then fossils and dinosaurs are about as diverse as they come.
if your state does not yet have a state dinosaur it maybe time to gather some support and write to your representatives, as has been demonstrated already in many states you are both never to young and never to old to make that change!
Frequently Asked Questions : State Dinosaurs
What are the U.S State dinosaurs
The States in the USA are free to choose symbols that they feel best represent them and the people that live there. Although more commonly these will be symbols of animals, flags, songs and birds.
However it is up to the state to decide what it wants to represent it and some will choose fossils and dinosaurs, usually these are dinosaurs that have been found in the state as fossils, or in some cases as fossil footprints.
How many States Have State Dinosaurs
At the time of writing (or editing) there are currently 14 U.S states that have a state dinosaur as a symbol, and the District of Columbia. This number is likely to grow as more and more take a look into their prehistoric past and adopt a state dinosaur.
Why do States have State Dinosaurs
Of the 14 states so far the majority of dinosaurs have been made into state symbols thanks to the efforts of both the teachers and the states children. it has become a way for the legislature to involve its young people in the lawmaking process but using something they, traditionally, are more interested in.
In many states a school child or class or school children has contacted a local representative with a proposal to make a dinosaur a state symbol. Then the representative takes the proposal to the house and a debate and a vote is held. There will be input from paleontologists and dinosaur experts as well, but as a way to encourage participation in government by children it is awesome.
Can any states not have a state dinosaur.
We have a more in depth article on US States that do not have fossils, at least of dinosaurs, some for very good reasons. The state of Hawaii for example in only about 6 million years old, and Florida was similarly not formed when dinosaurs were alive.
Other states like New Hampshire, Kentucky we either under water at the time, or rocks from that era have been eroded by glaciers. Fossils have been found, just not dinosaurs in some of these states. For example shark fossils have been found in Kentucky as recently as 2020.
What are U.S. State fossils
Although there are some states that have both the state fossil and the state dinosaur as the same thing, there are also plenty that have chosen two different symbols. So while a state dinosaur will physically be a fossil it is does not have to be the state fossil.
For example Texas has the sauroposeidon as its state dinosaur and the State fossil is Petrified Palmwood.
A state with both the fossil and the dinosaur being the same would be the first state to name a state dinosaur, Colorado which named the Stegosaurus as both the state fossil and the state dinosaur in 1982.
We hope to be adding to the page throughout 2023 and 2024, and are expecting that table of 14 state dinosaurs to be expanding to encompass as many states as possible in the near future.
Even states that don’t have fossils, like Hawaii as we mentioned above , can always ‘borrow’ one from another state, or use some of their other more recent dinosaur history to choose one. With Jurassic Park being filmed in Hawaii surely there are some that can be an honorary resident for this purpose!
Hi, I am Roy Ford a General Studies and English Teacher who has taught all over the world. What started as a fossil collection became a great way to teach, motivate and inspire students of all ages and all over the world about dinosaurs and from that and children’s love of dinosaurs came the site dinosaur facts for kids, a resource for all ages.