Sonorasaurus Proposed as Arizona's State Dinosaur

This illustration shows what Sonorasaurus, the only known specimen of which was found in Arizona, might have looked like. | Creative Commons

A dinosaur species whose only known specimen was found in Arizona in 1994 could soon become the official state dinosaur, thanks to a push by an 11-year-old boy (naturally).

Sonorasaurus — named for the Sonoran Desert, in which it was discovered near Sonoita — was about 50 feet long and weighed 4,000 pounds, a paleontologist who helped excavate the specimen told The Arizona Republic. The species lived during the Cretacious, a geologic period from 145 million to 66 million years ago.

Jax Weldon, an 11-year-old student at Hopi Elementary School in Phoenix, wrote to Governor Doug Ducey and state legislators last year about making Sonorasaurus the state dinosaur, the Republic reported. Arizona currently has no state dinosaur, but it does have an official state neckwear (the bola tie), an official state firearm (the Colt single-action revolver) and a state metal (copper).

Senator Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix, has advanced a bill, Senate Bill 1517, to make Jax's dream a reality. It's actually the second time the Arizona Legislature has considered the move: Back in 1998, both Sonorasaurus and Dilophosaurus were in the running to become the state dinosaur, but that bill died in caucus.

The Sonorasaurus fossil unearthed in 1994 is on display at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson.

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