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Young dinosaur fan sways Utah senator to change state fossil

December 25, 2017

In this Dec. 14, 2017 photo, dinosaur fanatic Kenyon Roberts holds a model of an Allosaurus claw in his dinosaur-themed room, in Draper, Utah. Roberts persuaded Sen. Curt Bramble to draft legislation to change Utah state fossil from Allosaurus to Utahraptor. (Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A 10-year-old dinosaur fan persuaded a Utah senator to start a legislative battle to change the state fossil to the Utahraptor instead of the Allosaurus to honor a dinosaur only found in Utah and featured in some of the “Jurassic Park” movies.

Kenyon Roberts asked a recent dinner guest, state Sen. Curt Bramble, why Utah had made the Allosaurus its official state fossil. Kenyon argued the Utahraptor should have that designation instead, The Salt Lake Tribune reported .

“I didn’t know we had a state fossil,” Bramble said.

“Its name has ‘Utah’ in it, and it’s only found in Utah. The Allosaurus has been found in Europe, Africa and other states. The first Allosaurus skull was found in Colorado,” said Kenyon, the son of Republican activist Jeremy Roberts.

A newly convinced Bramble is drafting legislation to make the change official.

Bramble and state drafting attorneys asked Kenyon to review an early draft of the bill to honor Utahraptor. His father notes that he told drafting attorneys, “The bill’s fine, but Utahraptor needs to be one word, not two.”

Bramble said he doesn’t like the debates that often occur to create new state symbols, but noted Utah already has a state fossil. “And if we’re going to have a state fossil, then it ought to be something unique to the state.”

When asked who would win a real fight between the two dinosaurs, Kenyon said without hesitation, “Utahraptor. It might be slightly smaller than the Allosaurus, but smarter.” He adds that scientists believe Utahraptors hunted in packs, so Allosaurus may have been outnumbered in any confrontation.

While 43 states have a state dinosaur or fossil, Utah is the only one to honor Allosaurus and none has selected Utahraptor.

Utah has 27 official state symbols.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com

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