Podokesaurus holyokensis was the recent winner in a statewide contest to pick an official Massachusetts state dinosaur. It was either Podokesaurus holyokensis or Anchisaurus polyzelus and more than 30,000 people voted online. Podokesaurus left that other critter in the dust, which, when you think about it is pretty much where dinosaurs ended up. 

The standard bearer in this cause was state Rep. Jack Lewis, a Democrat from Framingham, who filed legislation and started the poll to help his kids in his Cub Scout den earn their “Digging in the Past” pin.

Just so you aren’t blindsided on your next important Zoom work call by someone debating whether Stegosaurus could beat T-Rex in a cage match, you should know something about these two former Bay State residents, Podokesaurus and Anchisaurus.

Fossilized bones of Podokesaurus holyokensis, which means “swift-footed lizard of Holyoke,” were discovered in 1910 by Mignon Talbot near Mount Holyoke. She was the first woman to name and describe a dinosaur. According to State House News Service, Podokesaurus was 3-6 feet long, weighed about 90 pounds, and could run 9 to 12 mph – although how anyone could estimate the speed of a dinosaur at a dead run is baffling.

Bones of Anchisaurus polyzelus were discovered in 1855 in Springfield; scientists believe that creature was more than 6 feet long and weighed about 60-75 pounds. No guesses on Anchisaurus’ speed.

Now that Podokesaurus has been declared the winner – and no one has yet disputed the results or attempted to overturn the election – Lewis will soon file legislation to get lawmakers’ approval to make that selection official.

Twelve states have official state dinosaurs. Alas, New Hampshire has a state fossil – the mastodon – but no dinosaur bones have been found there because of the type of rocks found in the Granite State.

But who’s to say Podokesaurus holyokensis didn’t sprint across the border now and then – at 9 to 12 mph, of course.


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