Most states have a state bird, a state flower and even a state tree, but what about a state dinosaur? Only 11 states in the US have state dinosaurs. One local paleontologist is hoping Idaho will be next.
“This dinosaur has a long name of Oryctodromeus cubicularis,” Dr. L.J. Krumenacker, a local paleontologist, said.
Dr. L.J. Krumenacker is a science teacher at Mountain View Middle School in Blackfoot. After recently getting his PhD in paleontology, he’s now hoping to convince the Idaho legislature to adopt a state dinosaur.
“It’s about the size of a four foot tall dog, so a big dog,” Dr. Krumenacker said. “About 11 feet long, plant eater. And it lived in burrows and it actually raised its kids underground.”
He says the dinosaur has a dozen partial or near complete skeletons found in Idaho.
“He’s super common to Idaho because he’s the one dinosaur we have in Idaho that we know a fair amount about,” he said. “And because he’s the only dinosaur we know of that lived in a burrow. So he’s kind of special as a dinosaur. And then special as far as Idaho and paleontology because he’s the most common dinosaur here.”
He says having a state dinosaur will bring more attention to Idaho paleontology. He also hopes it will be a way to educate kids about the dinosaurs from Idaho.
“Anytime you can do things with schools and young people to teach them how science works and why it’s important, that that’s a win-win situation,” he said.
Dr. Krumenacker says he’s just beginning the process of getting the state dinosaur approved. He says he’s been talking to State Senator Mark Harris from Caribou County and Representative Julie VanOrden as well as teachers around the state. You can find a link to the support page for the dinosaur here.