Dec 13, 2022 - Politics

Washington state dinosaur bill far from extinct

Two men stand side by side, one holding a large bone and another a fragment of a bone.

Christian Sidor (right) holds a femur fragment of the only dinosaur fossil ever found in Washington state. Brandon Peecook (left) holds a more complete dinosaur femur for reference. Photo courtesy of Burke Museum

An effort to designate an official Washington state dinosaur is back before lawmakers.

What's happening: For the fifth year in a row, a bill aims to bestow that statewide honor on the Suciasaurus rex, a T. rex relative whose fossilized femur is the only dinosaur remnant ever discovered in Washington.

Why it matters: Washington got national attention in 2015 when it became the 37th state to confirm that a dinosaur fossil had been found within its borders — a discovery that's becoming increasingly rare.

Details: The Suciasaurus rex is named after Sucia Island in San Juan County, where it was discovered in 2012 by two research associates from Seattle's Burke Museum.

  • The two researchers were looking for fossils of sea creatures when they spotted the partially exposed dinosaur bone on the beach, according to a Burke Museum blog post from 2015.
  • The fossil is now on display at the museum, which focuses on natural history and culture.

Be smart: If you think it's silly for legislators to spend time on things like picking a state dinosaur, keep in mind that these kinds of proposals are often about civic education and engagement.

  • The bill was originally proposed by fourth graders at Elmhurst Elementary in the Franklin Pierce School District, according to a House press release.

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