‘Augie’ is on his way to becoming the official state dinosaur

He’s a “native Californian, Los Angeles resident, older than Jerry Brown (barely), a vegetarian and a firm believer in science,” according to his Twitter bio.

And if California Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D- Santa Monica) has his way, Augustynolophus Morrisi — Augie, for short — will soon become the official state dinosaur.

On Tuesday, Bloom’s bill to elevate the duck-billed herbivore to mascot status passed a key committee on the way to a vote before the full California Senate.

Augustynolophus stood as tall as 26 feet and roamed the state about 66 million years ago alongside Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops. Paleontologists discovered its fossils in Fresno County in 1939, and its name honors two notable Californians: Natural History Museum philanthropist Gretchen Augustyn and the late West Coast paleontologist extraordinaire William J. Morris.

But Bloom’s effort is really about getting kids excited about science, with elementary school classrooms around the state now also campaigning on Augie’s behalf.

“We have received a tremendous amount of support from students excited about having a state dinosaur,” he said.


— Joe Piasecki