An Official Dinosaur For Arkansas?

Jan 10, 2017

Arkansaurus fridayi could soon have its day once again.

A pair of Arkansas legislators want to make Arkansaurus fridayi the official dinosaur of the state of Arkansas. Arkansas isn't particularly known as a hot bed for uncovering the ancient creatures but southwest Arkansas has had a couple of excavations.

State Senator Larry Teague of Nashville is a sponsor of the legislation. The creature once roamed in his district. Fellow Democrat, State Representative Greg Leding of Fayetteville, is also a lead sponsor. A high school student in his district led a grassroots campaign for recognition of the prehistoric beast last year.

A bit about the dinosaur from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

“Arkansaurus fridayi” is a type of bipedal coelurosaur dinosaur, a group of theropods that includes the subgroups Tyrannosauridae, Ornithomimidae, and Maniraptora. Its nearest relative was thought by Quinn to be an Ornithomimus, a bird or ostrich-like dinosaur, and a 2003 study by Rebecca Hunt still regards this dinosaur as an unknown species. This is due in part to a poor record of theropods in the eastern United States and the lack of a complete skeleton with which to make comparisons."

The foot bones of “Arkansaurus fridayi” are the only dinosaur bones found in Arkansas that have been brought to the attention of the scientific community. The bones were found in Early Cretaceous age rocks from approximately 146 to 100 million years ago.

While Teague and Leding are both Democrats, after recent defections from the party, it's safe to say they're probably not DINOs.