Dinos rooted in Holyoke, Springfield vie for official status

  • The Massachusetts State House in Boston FILE PHOTO

State House News Service
Published: 1/4/2021 1:14:12 PM

Wyoming has the triceratops, and in Colorado, it’s the stegosaurus. Fittingly, Utah has the Utahraptor and Arkansas, the Arkansaurus.

A Framingham Democrat is seeking to add Massachusetts to the list of states that have codified their own official dinosaur.

“With so much uncertainty in our world today, can you think of a better way to help kids (and those young-at-heart) learn about the legislative process than be naming an official Massachusetts State Dinosaur?” state Rep. Jack Lewis wrote on social media Monday.

Lewis said he plans to file a bill in the new session to designate an official state dinosaur, and posted links to an online survey seeking input on the species. The survey garnered 150 votes in its first two hours, he said.

The contenders are Podokesaurus holyokensis and Anchisaurus polyzelus.

Podokesaurus holyokensis – or “swift-footed lizard of Holyoke” – was a carnivore three to six feet in length, according to the survey, whose fossils were first discovered in 1910 near Mount Holyoke “by Mignon Talbot, the first woman to name and describe a dinosaur.”

The survey says that the bones of the Anchisaurus polyzelus, an herbivore whose name means “Much sought after near lizard,” were first discovered in 1855 in Springfield, and that because of the dinosaur’s small stature – 6.5 feet long and 60 to 70 pounds – its bones were originally mistaken for human remains.

Each session, several bills are filed proposing new official emblems for Massachusetts, often with the goal of educating students on the legislative process or highlighting a piece of local history. This session, lawmakers filed bills seeking to designate an official amphibian (spring peeper), official mushroom (the “giant puffball” fungus), official shellfish (quahog), among others.

Massachusetts already has an official fossil – the dinosaur track.




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