Currently, Arkansas does not have an official state dinosaur.
Rep. Greg Leding took the first step in addressing the dino-gap today. His resolution (not a bill, so would have no power of law) to make Arkansaurus Fridayi the state’s official dinosaur passed the House unanimously this afternoon by voice vote.
Joe B. Friday discovered the dinosaur’s fossilized foot in a gravel pit near Lockesburg in 1972 when he was out looking for a cow. Arkansaurus, a bipedal coelurosaurian dinosaur, is the only dinosaur whose remains have been found in Arkansas.
Friday donated the bones to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. They’re now kept in the Arkansas Archeological Survey’s museum collection; casts of the foot can be seen at the Arkansas Geological Survey and the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock.
The resolution is now on to senate committee. If passed, Arkansas would become the tenth state with an official state dinosaur. Ethics rules will prohibit Arkansaurus from receiving any Jurassic Perks from his new title.
The resolution’s stated intention is to encourage an interest in paleontology (Leding got the idea from a Fayetteville high school student, Mason Cypress Oury, who told lawmakers last week that he has been interested in Arkansaurus since he was “itty bitty.”)
The resolution is likely to cause confusion in the offices of the Arkansas Times, where editor Lindsey Millar has long gone by the nickname “Arkansaurus.”