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5 States That Have State Dinosaurs

Did you know that some states have state dinosaurs? We didn’t, and our tiny minds are blown.  


Every state has a bunch of different things that represent it: A bird, a flower, a beverage (spoiler: They're almost always milk). Every state also has a state fossil, but why stick with bones? That's pretty much the same as having a state corpse. Instead, five states have chosen an artist's rendering of a prehistoric creature to represent the state and its people. That’s right - they have a state dinosaur. This is such amazing news that we’re almost too excited to be annoyed that no one ever told us this before. Anyway, these dinos’ bones were found in their respective states, which is why they were given this designation. Just in case you were after, like, facts and stuff.

Maryland's Astrodon johnstoni  

Courtesy of Dmitry Bogdanov / Wikipedia Commons      
The Astrodon johnstoni was named Maryland's state dinosaur in 1998. Astrodon means “Star Tooth,” which one can surmise will also be the name of an all-female gang leader in a yet-to-be-released John Waters film. This dinosaur had a small head, a long tail and a super long neck. In a city riddled with crime like Baltimore, the Astrodon johnstoni's long neck would have enabled it to patrol the streets while spotting danger from far away. Imagine that the next time you watch The Wire, then do a little happy dance at the thought of Omar sliding down its neck to freedom instead of jumping out the window (spoilers!)

Missouri's Hypsibema missouriensis

Courtesy of Missouri Secretary of State
The Hypsibema missouriensis is a Hadrosaur, or "duckbilled" dinosaur, and it became the official state dinosaur of Missouri in 2004. Its duckbill gave the females of the species a unique advantage over other lady dinosaurs – namely, the ability to post pouty “duck face” Facebook photos in order to tell all potential males in the area that, “Yes, I'm easy.” This particular dino had over 1,000 teeth behind those pouty lips [Editor’s note – can we get someone to fact check whether reptiles have lips?], meaning that drunkenly making out next to a dumpster behind a bowling alley was probably even more dangerous in the Cretaceous period.

New Jersey's Hadrosaurus foulkii

Photo by De Agostini Picture Library / Getty Images
This was the first nearly complete dinosaur skeleton ever discovered, meaning that it's better than all the other dinosaurs and if anyone questions that it'll kick your ass. Like most creatures inhabiting New Jersey, it naturally looks mean and unapproachable: More importantly, there's also a distinct facial similarity between the Hadrosaurus and Paulie Walnuts. Fourth graders pushed for the Hadrosaurus to be recognized as a state dinosaur in 1988, and in 1991 it became legit. Meanwhile, no one has done anything to change the State Dance – the Square Dance - to something more appropriate, like fist pumping, road rage or silently grinding on the back of an unconscious teenager.



Texas' Paluxysaurus Jonesi

Photo by Tom Dill / Flickr (Creative Commons) 
In 1997, the Brachiosaur sauropod, Pleurocoelus was named the state dinosaur for Texas. Paleontologists realized in 2007 that the bones and footprints were actually of a Paluxysaurus Jonesi, and in 2009 the state voted to change their state dinosaur (gay rights, abortion, and immigration play second fossil to this issue, apparently). Indecision aside, one can assume that barbequed dinosaur meat would be delicious. And with the Paluxysaurus Jonesi measuring in at 70 feet long and weighing 20 tons, we want our not-so-baby back ribs. 

Wyoming's Triceratops

Photo by Nobu Tamura / Wikipedia Commons
Wyoming designated the triceratops as its state dinosaur in 1994 after an election held by elementary school children. Putting the “Y” in “Wyoming”, it seems unclear why this beast was chosen beyond the fact that kids didn’t have iPhones in 1994, and living in a perpetual state of boredom can do that to you. Just like a T-Rex or a Pterodactyl, the Triceratops is one of those generic, easy to recognize dinosaurs - in fact, come to think of it, we probably know more about the Triceratops than we do about Wyoming. So – good job, we guess? 

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