This image shows a restoration of a Daspletosaurus torosus, whose nickname is Suciasaurus rex. (Wikipedia)

This image shows a restoration of a Daspletosaurus torosus, whose nickname is Suciasaurus rex. (Wikipedia)

Suciasaurus rex may become Washington’s official dinosaur

After a dino fossil was found in the San Juan Islands, a bunch of fourth-graders are out to make history.

OLYMPIA — Apples, orcas and the sweet onions of Walla Walla are what many consider symbols of Washington.

Dinosaurs? Nah.

That may soon change.

Thanks to the discovery of a 17-inch fossil and the desire of a class of Parkland fourth graders, Washington may soon have an official state dinosaur named Suciasaurus rex.

Dino-lovers, try to say that one time fast.

The vehicle to make it happen is House Bill 2155 authored by Democratic Rep. Melanie Morgan of Parkland and co-sponsored by 31 Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

On Wednesday, the bill received a hearing in the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee. It is scheduled to be voted out of committee Friday.

Morgan said in the hearing that she introduced it “on behalf of some civically engaged” fourth-graders at Elmhurst Elementary. Their curiosity and their tenacity led them to her with a request to make it happen, she said.

Dr. Christian Sidor, Burke Museum curator of vertebrate paleontology, and Brandon Peecook, University of Washington graduate student, show the size and placement of the fossil fragment compared to the cast of a Daspletosaurus femur. (The Burke Museum)

Dr. Christian Sidor, Burke Museum curator of vertebrate paleontology, and Brandon Peecook, University of Washington graduate student, show the size and placement of the fossil fragment compared to the cast of a Daspletosaurus femur. (The Burke Museum)

The story dates back a long, long time — like 80 million years, in a place not so far away, the San Juan Islands.

Dinosaurs romped around on the turf we know today as North America. Then it was the Late Cretaceous period. Earthquakes and other geologic forces that reshaped the planet hadn’t begun to work their mojo, pushing rocks and reshaping terra firma into what is today Sucia Island.

Fast-forward to 2012. As the story goes, two researchers from the Burke Museum at the University of Washington traveled to Sucia Island State Park in search of fossil ammonites, which are sea creatures with spiral-shaped shells that lived at the same time as dinosaurs.

On the shore they came upon what was determined to be a fossilized chunk of a left thigh bone of a theropod dinosaur, the group of two-legged meat eaters whose best known member is Tyrannosaurus rex.

This is the only dinosaur fossil ever discovered in the state.

If S-rex becomes the state dinosaur — for the record there’s no competition for the title — it will become the 22nd state symbol. Apples are the state fruit, orcas the state marine mammal, and the Walla Walla sweet onion is the state vegetable. There’s a state fossil (Columbian Mammoth), waterfall (Palouse Falls) and fish (steelhead trout).

If it happens, Washington would become the 12th state with an official dinosaur. That’s per Wikipedia.

Colorado did it first in 1982, bestowing the honor upon Stegosaurus armatus. Utah and Arizona were the latest in 2018.

Washington, D.C., has one too, Capitalsaurus. Seriously.

Back to Olympia.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Lisa Lantz of Washington State Parks brought a cast of the fossil for everyone to see.

“We would be proud to continue to caretake the fossil,” she said in her brief testimony in favor of the bill.

Logan Endres of the Washington State School Directors’ Association urged passage as well. He, too, cited the educational value for the elementary students who first brought the idea to Morgan.

“Those fourth-graders will never forget how a bill becomes law,” he said.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Marysville
Want to serve on the Marysville School Board? There’s a vacancy

Katie Jackson resigned in November for personal reasons. The board plans to fill the spot by Jan. 4.

Robert Miller blows snow out of the parking lot next to his home as snow comes down on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snow arrives earlier than expected in Everett; more expected Tuesday night

Forecasted snow arrives earlier than expected. Wind, winter weather advisories are in effect through Wednesday afternoon.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Man identified in fatal Lake Stevens crash

Bradley Gilbert, 52, of Lake Stevens, died in the crash on State Route 92 last week.

Clyde Shavers, left, and Greg Gilday.
Shavers wins by narrow margin as Dems flip seat in 10th District

Democrat Clyde Shavers won by 211 votes against incumbent state Rep. Greg Gilday. It’s close enough for a recount.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Washington state.
Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7

Find information and resources to help make the best choice for you.

Marysville Jail (City of Marysville)
Man with hepatitis C accused of spitting on Marysville jail staff

Hepatitis C is usually spread through blood. The suspect, 28, faces allegations of exposing the officers to a contagious disease.

A sign posted on the door of Bits’n Pieces in Arlington. (Jacqueline Allison / The Herald)
‘3 Students’ max: Arlington businesses bemoan early release, rowdy teens

Since middle-school students started getting released at 1:15 p.m. Fridays, downtown businesses saw a rise in disruptive behavior.

Eric Wilkinson, a Community Transit driver of 17 years, departs from Seaway Transit Center in an empty 280 bus Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Everett, Washington. Wilkinson said he usually has about 5 passengers from Boeing on the bus to Granite Falls, but had none Friday because Boeing was closed for the holiday weekend. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Driver shortage prompts Community Transit’s trip cut proposal

Reducing service, by 78 trips total on 9 routes, could make for more reliable arrivals and departures in March.

Influenza A data from The Everett Clinic labs.
Second flu death since 2020 reported in Snohomish County

A Lynnwood woman died last week in Everett. County health officials say this could be worst flu season since the pandemic.

Most Read