Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday signed legislation establishing an extinct species to represent the state: a dinosaur.

Baker, a Republican, signed the legislation during a ceremony at the Museum of Science in Boston, although the governor had actually signed the law making the dinosaur the official state rep back in May.

The Podokesaurus holyokensis, or “swift-footed lizard of Holyoke,” lived millions of years ago in what is now Massachusetts and was discovered by Mignon Talbot, a Mount Holyoke College professor and paleontologist, in 1910, according to the magazine of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

It is estimated to have measured around three to six feet (around one to two meters) in length and weighed approximately 90 pounds (40 kilograms), and could run 9 to 12 mph (14 to 19 kph), according to the university. It also had a carnivorous diet.

The idea of naming a state dinosaur was initially suggested last year by state Rep. Jack Lewis, a Framingham Democrat, as a way of getting people involved in science while simultaneously teaching them about the legislative process.

A social media campaign was launched shortly after to decide which dinosaur would represent the state, with the Podokesaurus holyokensis receiving more than 60 percent of the roughly 35,000 votes that were cast and beating another dinosaur, Anchisaurus polyzelus, that was also discovered in the state.

‘As a Kid, They Just Created Wonder’

“Hopefully if this project inspires just a couple of young girls to grow up and explore paleontology, it would have been all worth it,” Lewis said during the signing ceremony on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Baker said Wednesday that his interest in dinosaurs had sparked his own passion for science as a child.

“If I think about my own childhood … the thing that got me interested in science in the first place was dinosaurs,” said Baker. “And the main reason they got me interested is because of their majesty and their ferocity and their almost alien-being status. As a kid, they just created wonder.”

The governor added, “And I do want to give the kids who are fascinated with dinosaurs a lot of credit for making this day possible and working with Representative Lewis and other folks in the legislature to give a tough, spunky underdog from Holyoke the opportunity to be the dinosaur here in the Commonwealth.”

Massachusetts is not the only state to have an official dinosaur. Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Maryland, Missouri, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming are among the 15 states that also have named state dinosaurs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.

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