May 10, 2023 - Politics

Meet Washington's new state dinosaur, the Suciasaurus rex

Courtesy of the Burke Museum

Washington is getting an official state dinosaur — the Suciasaurus rex.

Driving the news: Gov. Inslee signed a measure into law last week honoring the only dinosaur fossil ever found in Washington state.

  • The fossilized piece of a femur, discovered on a beach at Sucia Island State Park in San Juan County in 2012, belongs to a theropod.
  • That's a category of meat-eating, two-legged dinosaurs that includes the Tyrannosaurus rex and the Velociraptor, according to the Burke Museum, where the thigh-bone fossil is on display.

Flashback: The quest to make the Suciasaurus rex the state dinosaur began four years ago, proposed by a group of fourth graders who were studying how bills become law.

  • Researchers say the dinosaur never roamed Washington, which was underwater 80 million years ago.
  • Instead, "the animal likely died and was carried out to sea where it sank to the seafloor, was buried and fossilized," Timothy Kenney, a spokesperson for the Burke Museum, told Axios.

Zoom in: Seattleites can go see the Suciasaurus rex fossil this week in the Burke Museum lobby, where it has temporarily been moved so that people can see it without paying admission, Kenney said.

  • The fossil will be on display there through Sunday.

The big picture: Washington joins 14 other states and Washington, D.C., in designating an official state dinosaur.


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