The Story Behind the Official State Fossil of South Carolina
Seems like there’s an Official State Everything these days. Official State Toy? Mississippi’s got the teddy bear, while Pennsylvania has the Slinky. Six states have designated Official Firearms. And 20 states have deemed milk as the Official State Beverage.
South Carolina is no stranger to branding things with the “Official State” title, with an Official State Grass (Indian Grass), Official State Snack Food (boiled peanuts), and Official State Dog (the Boykin Spaniel).
Despite this proliferation of Official State Items, South Carolina had no Official State Fossil until last year. That’s why 8-year-old Olivia McConnell wrote to her state senator in January 2014 to let him know that one of the first fossils ever found in North America, the woolly mammoth, was found right there in South Carolina. Wasn’t it a perfect candidate to become the Official State Fossil?
Though Olivia’s logic was perfectly sound, her idea got held up because state creationists weren’t happy with the way the bill was worded. They suggested the language, "The Columbian Mammoth, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field, is designated as the official State Fossil of South Carolina and must be officially referred to as the 'Columbian Mammoth,' which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field."
After much debate, the amendment was eventually thrown out and the woolly mammoth was named the Official State Fossil last May.