Meanwhile in Massachusetts: The Official State Dinosaur Answers the Question ‘Hey, Why the Hell Not?’

Photo: Carol Yepes (Getty Images)

If you delve into the information about the state you currently live in (or you’re simply interested in what’s going on in a neighboring state), you’re sure to find information like the official state flower, state bird, and even the state motto. What you probably won’t find is an official state dinosaur. That is unless you’re reading about Massachusetts. Because, for some unknown reason, the North Atlantic state recently elected a state dinosaur and no, it’s not the wildly popular Velociraptor, Tyrannosaurus Red, or even the often overlooked Triceratops.

An initiative launched by a state representative, and an obvious fan of The Land Before Time, Jack Patrick Lewis wanted to give the state an official dinosaur. Well, it didn’t give them a pet dinosaur, the technology from Jurassic Park still hasn’t happened in real life yet. They simply voted for an official state dinosaur.

An avid dinosaur fan, Lewis came up with the idea because he wanted to find a way to get his son’s Cub Scout group interested in paleontology.

State residents voted in January and the winner wasn’t a well-known dino at all. The new state dinosaur is the Podokesaurus holyokensis, a species that was discovered in the Mount Holyoke area in 1910. This “swift-footed lizard” was a tiny (less than three-foot long), meat-eating dinosaur. It should come as no surprise that the state chose a scrappy, small dinosaur. This is the state that embraced Dustin Pedroia and Julian Edelman for years.

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