Capitol Alert

California gets an official state dinosaur. Can you guess its name?

The fossilized skull of a duck-billed dinosaur called Augustynolophus is revealed in a 1940 paleontological excavation in the Panoche Hills of western Fresno County. The dinosaur's lower jaw is toward the top of this image.
The fossilized skull of a duck-billed dinosaur called Augustynolophus is revealed in a 1940 paleontological excavation in the Panoche Hills of western Fresno County. The dinosaur's lower jaw is toward the top of this image.

Gov. Jerry Brown has completed his adoption of Augustynolophus morrisi as the official state dinosaur.

Brown, acting on one of the more lighthearted measures on his desk, announced Saturday the signing of Assembly Bill 1540 by Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica.

The bill elevates the duck-billed dinosaur discovered in California’s Moreno Formation to existing state law alongside the saber-toothed cat as the official state fossil and the California red-legged frog as the official state amphibian.

Bloom described Augustynolophus morissi, a fittingly herbivorous dinosaur, as a unique creature only found in California. Its twitter account, ‪‪@augustynolophus, includes a snarky bio that describes the Native Californian as “older than Jerry Brown (barely) ... (and a) firm believer in science.”‬‬

Augustynolophus morissi, a contemporary of the better-known tyrannosaurus and triceratops, was named for two notable Californians: Gretchen Augustyn and paleontologist Dr. William J. Morris.

Just eight states have declared a state dinosaur to pay homage to the long-extinct creatures.

Brown over the years has signed several bills recognizing state emblems, including last year’s AB 501 designating denim as the official state fabric.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

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