What is the State Dinosaur of Utah?

The State Dinosaur of Utah is often confused with the State fossil, and once you know what these two are it pretty easy to see where that confusion stems from. Both were Apex predatory dinosaurs, both are famous and well known, and apart from feathers and a difference in size they kind of looked alike as well. We take a look at both the State dinosaur of utah and the State fossil.

Utahraptor was named as the State dinosaur of Utah in 2018, joining Allosaurus as the prehistoric state symbols. Although it was first discovered in 1975, it did not come to prominence until further fossils were unearthed and it was named in 1993.

Utahraptor is the arguably the largest of all the raptors species discovered so far, and large as it was it was not quite as large as the state fossil for Utah, the Allosaurus. However, the Allosaurus and its fame often have it mistaken for the state dinosaur. We take a look at both of these incredible predators below to try to sort out the case of mistaken identity.

Utahraptor,Pack,Out,On,The,Prowl. State dinosaur of Utah

Utahraptor: The State Dinosaur of Utah

We have some quick facts about the Utah State dinosaur, the Utahraptor below for you and have included the most important in a table to make access easier as well.

Utahraptor Quick Facts

  • Utahraptor was a member of the dromaeosaurid group of dinosaurs, which includes other famous predatory dinosaurs like Velociraptor and Deinonychus.
  • Utahraptor was a bipedal animal, meaning it walked on two legs. It had long, powerful legs and a flexible tail that helped it balance while running.
  • Utahraptor was one of the largest dromaeosaurids, with an estimated length of up to 18 feet (5-6 meters) and a weight of up to 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms). Although at its largest size it has been estimated up to 23 feet long.
  • Utahraptor had a large head with sharp teeth and powerful jaws, as well as sharp claws on its hands and feet that it used to grab and kill its prey.
  • The first Utahraptor fossil was discovered in 1975 in Moab, Eastern Utah , and the dinosaur was named after the state where it was found.
  • Scientists believe that Utahraptor may have had feathers, similar to other dromaeosaurids, but has never been found with them preserved.
  • Utahraptor lived during the Early Cretaceous Period, around 135 to 130 million years ago.
  • Utah Raptor is easily pronounced with 4 syllables and you say it like this. You – Tar – Rap – Ter.
Dinosaur NameState Dinosaur ofLengthHeightWeightWhen LivedWhen and where Discovered
UtahraptorUtah. 201816 – 23 feet (5-7 metres) 6-6.5 feet (2 metres)660-1100 lbs 3-500 kg)135 – 130 million years agoUtah 1975, 1993.

Why is Utahraptor the State Dinosaur of Utah?

On May the 8th, 60 days after Governor Gary Herbert signed the bill, Utahraptor became the state dinosaur for Utah, joining Allosaurus as the prehistoric representatives of the state.

It happened when once again, like many other states, with the help of the states school children. In Utahraptors case it was Kenyon Roberts, who discussed with Senator Curt Bramble that because Utahraptor should be the state dinosaur because:

  • It was only found in Utah (so far),
  • was a huge sized raptor akin to the ones recently seen in the Jurassic World Movies,
  • when named gave credence to the size of the raptors in the first Jurassic park movie ( always a arguable point that one of course!)
  • and this is the big one, even sported the name of the state in its own name!

Curt Bramble agreed, as well he should with the dinosaur logic of children!, and brought it to the attention of the legislature. Although it was initially suggested that it replace the Allosaurus as the state fossil none other than JIm Kirkland, who discovered further fossils of the Utahraptor, suggested why have one when you can have two, and that a new symbol of State dinosaur be put forward.

All agreed, and the vote passed 67 – 0 and now Utah has two of the most iconic dinosaur predators as its state symbols.

Utahraptor the state dinosaur of utah

Where was Utahraptor discovered?

Utahraptor was discovered in Eastern Utah, in the United States. By Dinosaur Jim ( Jim Jensen) The first fossil specimen was discovered in 1975 in the Dalton Well Quarry near Moab, later fossils were also found in 1991 in the Yellow Cat Member of the Cedar Mountain Formation, which is a rock formation that dates back to the Early Cretaceous Period, over 125 million years ago.

State Dinosaur of Utah
Cretaceous Colorado

The specimen consisted of a partial skeleton, including a skull, jaw, and several vertebrae. Since its discovery, several other Utahraptor specimens have been found in the same area, These fossil specimens have of course helped scientists learn more about the anatomy and behavior of Utahraptor and other dromaeosaurids,

Although it still took 16 years after the first fossil find, and 2 years after more significant finds for the future state dinosaur for Utah to get its name. It wasn’t named until 1993, by , James Kirkland, Robert Gaston, and Donald Burge

What is the State Fossil of Utah?

The official State Dinosaur of Utah is the Allosaurus. Allosaurus is a large, carnivorous dinosaur that lived during the Late Jurassic Period, about 150 million years ago. It was a member of the theropod group, which includes all the meat-eating dinosaurs, and was one of the most successful predators of its time.

Allosaurus was a bipedal animal, meaning it walked on two legs, and had a large head with powerful jaws and sharp teeth. It had long arms with sharp claws and a long, flexible tail. Allosaurus was a formidable predator that preyed on other dinosaurs, including sauropods and stegosaurs.


It is known from numerous fossil specimens found in the western United States, including Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming. The State of Utah officially designated Allosaurus as the state dinosaur in 1988.

you can check out the other state dinosaurs, those that have adopted one as a state symbol, here in the following list.

You can also read more about State dinosaurs in our US State dinosaur page as well linked here and below.


Although it is not really surprising that the state dinosaur of Utah was chosen when it is actually named after the state it was chosen for Utahraptor was not without competition. The State fossil the Allosaurus, is a immensely popular dinosaur, and states like Colorado, the first state to name a dinosaur as a symbol have the same dinosaur as both the state fossil and state dinosaur.

Even having Utah in the name did not give Utahraptor a clear run as Utah, being one of the richest state for fossil discoveries in the U.S.A actually has a couple of other dinosaurs named after the state including the Utedon and the Utahceratops.

So in a State as rich with dinosaurs as Utah, the utahraptor still managed to claw its way to the top !


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