Massachusetts residents have no shortage of state symbols through which to celebrate their regional devotion. There’s a state polka song (“Say Hello to Someone From Massachusetts” by Lenny Gomulka), a state dessert (Boston cream pie), and even a state doughnut (also Boston cream).
Now, Massachusetts state legislator Jack Patrick Lewis is lobbying for another one: state dinosaur. As Boston.com reports, Lewis has fostered a passion for prehistoric creatures ever since seeing The Land Before Time (1988) in his youth, and he’s hoping an official state dinosaur will help fellow Bay Staters learn about the area’s early history.
Lewis has chosen two species to consider for the designation. The Podokesaurus holyokensis is a 3-to-6-foot carnivore whose fossils were unearthed around Mount Holyoke in 1910. Mignon Talbot, the woman who made the discovery, was the first woman to ever name a newfound dinosaur. The Podokesaurus’s competition is the Anchisaurus polyzelus, a slightly larger herbivore whose bones were located in Springfield, Massachusetts, more than half a century earlier.
“Neither are the huge animals we see in movies, neither are a household name, but they are two species that we have found in Massachusetts, found by people who lived here and worked here, and their fossil remains exist here,” Lewis told Boston.com.
Before he files the legislation on January 15, he’s asking the public to weigh in on which dinosaur deserves the honor. Though the poll is mainly intended for people who either live in or have some connection to Massachusetts, it’s technically open for anyone to vote.
Not only is Lewis’s initiative an exciting prospect for dinosaur-loving New Englanders, but it’s also a great way to get people (especially kids) involved in the legislative process. If the bill does eventually pass, Massachusetts won’t be the first to claim a state dinosaur—Maryland, Wyoming, and several other states all have one, too.