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Assembly Passes Santa Monica Lawmaker’s Dinosaur Bill  

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By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

April 7, 2017 -- One giant step for extinct species was taken Thursday when the State Assembly approved a bill introduced by Rep. Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) to make California’s official dinosaur the duck-billed Augustynolophus morissi.

The bill, which has gathered local and even national attention is now headed to the State Senate for review (“Santa Monica Lawmaker Seeks First Official State Dinosaur,” March 30, 2017).

Among those applauding the bill’s passage in the Assembly was the official Twitter account for the dinosaur species that has become the center of attention.

“On to the Senate! Hopefully they'll be able to pronounce my name,” the tweet stated.

The profile statement for the Twitter account says “Native Californian, Los Angeles resident, older than Jerry Brown (barely), vegetarian and firm believer in science.”

Although the Twitter account is mostly tongue-in-cheek as has been much of the local and national coverage about the legislation, there is a serious side to this.

Bloom has said he hopes that the adoption of a State dinosaur will increase interest in science, especially among children.

"Having an interest in one branch of science often leads a child to be interested in other areas of science so this bill aligns with the investment we have made in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM, programs,” Bloom said earlier this month.

Specimens of the species, which dates back to the Maastrichtian Age, also the age of the Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops, have only been found in California.

Augustynolophus morrissi is thought to have measured at least 35 feet long and almost 12 feet high. It only ate plants and is one of the few known species of dinosaur that chewed its food.

Augustynolophus morrissi 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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