Arkansas State Fossil
Arkansaurus fridayi (scientific name)
Unofficial state fossil of Arkansas
Arkansaurus fridayi is thought to have been an omnivorous dinosaur that lived in the early Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era, approximately 100 to 145 million years ago. This species was a coelurosaur, a bipedal dinosaur closely related to birds. Arkansaurus fridayi inhabited the shoreline area of what is now southwest Arkansas. During the Cretaceous period, the Gulf of Mexico covered the present-day southeastern United States. Arkansaurus fridayi is anomen nudum, which means that the name has been proposed but not scientifically accepted because evidence is insufficient to name a new species.
REPRESENTATIVE OF THE STATE
Arkansaurus fridayi'sfoot bones are the only scientifically described dinosaur bones ever found in Arkansas. Because they are a document of the state's geology and paleontology and because the dinosaur was named for the state,Arkansaurus fridayi is a suitable fossil to represent Arkansas.
Before it was given its current scientific name, this dinosaur was classified as a type of ornithomimid, a bird-like dinosaur with long limbs and a small head. This was later changed to Arkansaurus fridayi. This dinosaur was named in 1973 by Dr. James Harrison Quinn, a geology professor at the University of Arkansas. It was named for the state of Arkansas and for Arkansas citizen J.B. Friday, who first discovered the bones.
Since only foot bones of this dinosaur have been identified, information about the rest of Arkansaurus fridayi’s body has largely been taken from similar dinosaurs.
Thought to be a skilled hunter, Arkansaurus fridayi most likely fed on small animals, insects, fruits, and leaves. This dinosaur stood six to 15 feet (1.8 to 4.6 m) high, with a long neck and a small head. Its brain, however, was relatively large for its size.
It is not known exactly what led to the extinction of dinosaurs. So little is known about Arkansaurus fridayi that paleontologists do not know exactly when this dinosaur became extinct. The last of the dinosaurs are thought to have gone extinct approximately 65 million years ago.
J.B. Friday discovered the bones in August 1972 in a gravel pit near the community of Lockesburg in east-central Sevier County. Friday donated the bones to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Casts of the bones were made and given to the University of Arkansas, the Arkansas Geological Commission, and the Arkansas Museum of Science and History.
Bone fragments of a similar dinosaur have been discovered in early Cretaceous rocks in the state of Maryland. These bones may lead to further information about Arkansaurus fridayi, and possibly the dinosaur’s proper identification.
The original bones found in 1972 currently reside at the University of Arkansas Museum Collections.
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|Author: World Trade Press|