Suciasaurus Rex-Washington State’s Official Dinosaur
On May 4th, 2023, Washington state welcomed its brand new official state dinosaur, the Suciasaurus rex! Ancient Odysseys is headquartered in Seattle, so we are delighted to celebrate our newly appointed dinosaur friend. With that in mind, we’ve included some facts about Suciasaurus (and other official state dinos too.)
What is Suciasaurus rex?
Suciasaurus Rex is a theropod, so when alive, he was a dinosaur that walked on two legs and ate meat. Suciasaurus was a theropod cousin to Tyrannosaurus rex, and he predated the T. rex by 15 million years. Only one part of Suciasaurus was found in Washington state—the dinosaur’s femur. It was found in 2012 in the San Juan Islands by paleontologists from the Burke Museum. Suciasaurus is not a new species, but is a nickname derived from Sucia Island, the location where the fossil was found.
Wait-did Washington state even have dinosaurs?
When dinosaurs roamed North America, most of present-day Washington state was under water. Paleontologists theorize that the dinosaur died on the coast somewhere between what is now Baja, Mexico and Northern California. The bones then floated out to sea, fossilizing on the ocean floor that became Sucia Island. Despite not being a native of Washington, Suciasaurus rex is the first—and as of now—only dinosaur ever found in Washington. Because it was found in-state, it is classified as a Washington state dinosaur.
What process is required to select a state dinosaur?
The campaign to make Suciasaurus rex official began in 2019 when a group of 4th graders from Elmhurst Elementary in Tacoma, Washington were learning how a bill becomes a law. With the help of a Representative, these 4th graders drafted a bill to for the state legislature to make Suciasaurus an official emblem and the state’s official dinosaur. It took a lot of patience and the resolution of a global pandemic, but Washington’s official state dinosaur was finally signed into law in 2023.
In the United States, the public can make their voices heard, so if your state does not have an official dinosaur, you can always write to a local Congressman to begin the legislative process of appointing one.
Does my state have an official dinosaur?
Washington state is only the 17th U.S. state to have an officially appointed dinosaur. Most of the other states with official dinosaurs are rich in dinosaur fossils, such as Utah, Wyoming and Montana.
In fact, the Montana Dinosaur Center was the location where the Montana state dinosaur called Maiasaura was found. You can join a dig at the Montana Dinosaur Center.
Or, you can hunt for Wyoming’s state dinosaur, the Triceratops on a dig with the Triceratops Gulch Project.
A quick search of the internet should determine if your state has a state dinosaur. If it doesn’t and you want to lead the charge, contact one of your congresspeople to advocate for one.
There are all sorts of paleontology digs around the United States, and Ancient Odysseys offers information and registration for the best excavations for citizen scientists. No matter what skill level you are, if you have a passion for finding dinosaurs, check out Ancient Odysseys’ paleontology digs in the United States.