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Santa Monica Lawmaker's Dinosaur Bill Heads to Governor for Signature
By Lookout Staff
September 1, 2017 -- A bill sponsored by Santa Monica Assembleymember Richard Bloom to designate the duck-billed Augustynolophus morissi as California’s official dinosaur is headed to the Governor for signature.
On Thursday, AB 1540 passed out of the State Senate on a 40-0 vote. The bill was approvedd by the State Assembley in April.
“Last week, as Californians of all ages and backgrounds gazed at the solar eclipse, we were reminded that scientific events and insignia have a remarkable ability to inspire us,” said Bloom, a former Santa Monica Mayor.
“I believe Augustynolphus morrisi will similarly be a source of education and inspiration for countless Californians, particularly young people.”
Dubbed “Auggie,” the species, which is thought to have measured at least 35 feet long and almost 12 feet high, roamed California during the Maastrichtian Age, also the age of the Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops popularized in the 1993 blockbuster movie "Jurassic Park."
Auggie only ate plants and is one of the few known species of dinosaur that chewed its food. It's remains have only been found in California.
The lawmaker's effort to designate a state dinosaur won attention when the bill was introduced in March (“Santa Monica Lawmaker Seeks First Official State Dinosaur,” March 30, 2017).
A Twitter account was set up with a tongue-in-cheek profile statement that read “Native Californian, Los Angeles resident, older than Jerry Brown (barely), vegetarian and firm believer in science.”
On April 6, the State Assembly approved the bill ("Assembly Passes Santa Monica Lawmaker’s Dinosaur Bill," April 7, 2017).
The campaign received "a tremendous amount of support from students excited about having a state dinosaur,” Bloom said when the Senate Committee on Governmental Organization unanimously approved the bill in July ("Santa Monica Lawmaker’s Bill for Official State Dinosaur Steps Closer to Final Approval," July 12, 2017).
If the bill is ultimately approved, Auggie would join 39 other entities with California’s state insignia, including the state fossil (the saber-toothed cat), the state flower (the poppy) and bird (the quail).
Augustynolophus morissi -- whose fossils were first unearthed in 1939 in the Moreno Formation of Fresno County -- was named after Dr. William J. Morris, a geologist and paleontologist primarily responsible for most of the dinosaur discoveries along the western coast of North America, and Mrs. Gretchen Augustyn, a long-time supporter of the Natural History Museum.
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