Massachusetts Set to Finally Make State Dinosaur Official
The children have spoken! On Thursday, October 14, 2021, the Massachusetts House of Representatives will vote on recognizing Podokesaurus holyokensis – the "swift-footed lizard of Holyoke" – as the official dinosaur of the Commonwealth.
When I first heard the story of Rep. Jack Lewis's bill, I moaned "puh-lease," but as I followed the story, I noticed the young people were really getting into the idea and this story started to grow big legs. Teachers, parents, scientists, and the business community, probably the parents of the excited kids, started getting behind this initiative.
Lewis was looking to collect about 500 signatures to launch the bill, the inspiration for which started in a Cub Scout meeting attended by Lewis's sons. Over 30,000 letters later, paleontologists, archeologists, geologists and others applauded the idea because they sensed the kids showed a desire to learn more about the dinosaur, and also get a taste of how laws are made at the State House.
The bill also prompted another state rep to file a separate piece of legislation for a study to clarify laws around preserving fossil remains and artifacts found by residents in the state.
So looking back, how can anybody be against what this bill encourages? Perhaps one of the students will go on to become an elected public servant because of passage of the dino bill. Or perchance, some of the kids will be inspired by the curiosity of fossils and the stories they hold.
When the vote takes place Thursday, it will be sent over to the Massachusetts Senate and then back to the House before going to the governor's desk for his signature, so this will teach our young scholars that there's a long process before an idea from some Cub Scouts becomes an Eagle Scout-level achievement.