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A Rawr Deal? Allosaurus Could Get Booted As Utah’s State Fossil

Zach Tirrell / CC by 2.0

State lawmakers are busy drafting legislation for the 2018 session beginning next month.  One bill could change the state fossil.

Republican Sen. Curt Bramble didn’t even know Utah had a state fossil — let alone what it was. Then he was asked about it by a friend’s ten-year-old son.

“He proceeded to tell me all about the Allosaurus, how it was discovered in Colorado, and gave me the whole history," said Bramble.

"Then he said, ‘and Senator Curt, it’s time for Utahraptor to be the state fossil.’”

The boy made his case for Utahraptor: that it’s a fossil unique to Utah, while Allosaurus fossils are found all over the world.  

Bramble has opened a bill file to make the change.

But state paleontologist Jim Kirkland, who had a role in Utahraptor’s discovery, is skeptical. Kirkland argues that Allosaurus should keep its title as Utah’s state fossil, and says Bramble should have Utahraptor become the state dinosaur – which Utah doesn’t currently have.

“I’ll look into it,” Bramble said.  

Allosaurus was designated the state fossil in 1988, a few years before Utahraptor was even discovered.

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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