Official State Fossils

Last week I was pleased to introduce HB 2595. The bill, which would designate Tylosaurus (a giant Mosasaur) as the Kansas state marine fossil and Pteranodon as the Kansas state flying fossil was passed out of the Vision 2020 committee with only one dissenting vote. Appearing to testify in favor of the bill were famed fossil hunter Alan Detrich, Adjunct curator of vertebrate paleontology at Sternberg Museum of Natural History at Hays, Kansas Mike Everhart, and 4Her and high school senior Steven Fisher from Scott City.

Tylosaurus inhabited the great inland sea of Western Kansas during the Cretaceous Period of the Mesozoic Era. Growing to lengths of more than 40 feet, Tylosaurus would have been the dominant marine predator of his world.


Tylosaurus proriger, Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Hays, Kansas – About 30 feet in length

Pteranodon flew above the same seas in which Tylosaurus swam, and achieved wingspans of 24 feet or more. Though not technically a dinosaur (both Tylosaurus and Pteranodon were reptiles) Pteranodon has gained worldwide fame through its depiction in classic movies such as King Kong, Disney’s Fantasia, and Jurassic Park.


Pteranodon Longiceps, a drawing from Oceans of Kansas, Mike Everhart, 2005

This session, like any legislative session, presents us with any number of serious issues to be debated and resolved. But that does not mean that there is no time available to consider designating these magnificent fossil species as official symbols of the state. By doing so we recognize and celebrate the natural history of this land that is now known as Kansas. A representative of the Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism testified that passage of the bill could enhance tourism in the state while increasing the appreciation of Kansas residents for our natural history.

Steven Fisher has started a FaceBook page to publicize the bill and encourage its passage. Thank you Steven! Time is running short as we approach turnaround. <Back to Top>

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