What is the Arkansas State Dinosaur?

When we think of Arkansas state facts, many might conjure up images of its famous hot springs, diamond mines, or perhaps its renowned state symbols like the mockingbird and apple blossom. However, there’s another symbol that stands out for its unique historical significance – the Arkansas state dinosaur, known as Arkansaurus fridayi.

This dinosaur, whose name may challenge your Ornithomimus pronunciation skills, was a relative of the Ornithomimus, meaning “bird mimic”. It roamed what is now known as the Natural State during the Early Cretaceous period, leaving behind an intriguing legacy encapsulated in Ark dino bones.

A Glimpse into the Past: The Story of Arkansaurus

The story of Arkansaurus begins in 1972 when Joe B. Friday stumbled upon a large fossil while walking near his land in Lockesburg, Arkansas. These were not just any ordinary fossils found in Arkansas; they were something much more special. After thorough research and analysis by paleontologists, it was confirmed that these were indeed the remains of a previously unknown species of dinosaur, which was later named Arkansaurus fridayi in honor of Mr. Friday.

Arkansaurus fridayi was a theropod dinosaur, a group of bipedal dinosaurs that includes the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex. However, unlike its fearsome cousin, Arkansaurus was likely an omnivore or herbivore, similar to its close relatives within the Ornithomimidae family. Its long legs suggest it was a swift runner, which would have been useful in escaping predators or chasing after food.

Arkansas State Fossil: A Symbol of Pride

In 2017, Arkansaurus fridayi was officially recognized as the Arkansas state fossil, making Arkansas the 29th state to designate a state dinosaur or fossil. This recognition not only honors the dinosaur’s unique connection to the state but also highlights the importance of paleontology and the study of Arkansas fossils.

The designation of Arkansaurus fridayi as the state dinosaur has also spurred interest in dinosaur park Arkansas ventures. These initiatives aim to educate residents and visitors about the fascinating prehistoric life that once roamed the state, offering interactive exhibits and educational programs that bring the world of dinosaurs to life.

Fossils in Arkansas: A Rich History

Apart from the Arkansaurus, there are numerous other fossils in Arkansas that paint a vivid picture of the state’s prehistoric past. From ancient marine creatures that lived when much of the state was covered by a shallow sea, to Ice Age mammals that roamed the land thousands of years ago, Arkansas’s fossil record is diverse and richly informative.

Interestingly, while many people often compare the Arkansaurus to the WA state dinosaur, it’s important to note that each state’s dinosaur or fossil symbol tells a unique story about its own geological history and prehistoric life.


From its discovery in Lockesburg to its designation as the Arkansas state dinosaur, Arkansaurus fridayi stands as a testament to the state’s rich paleontological history. As you explore more about Arkansas state facts, remember that these ancient creatures, encapsulated in Ark dino bones, offer a glimpse into a world millions of years ago. Whether you’re visiting a dinosaur park Arkansas or simply studying the state’s symbols, the story of Arkansaurus offers an intriguing journey into the past.

So, the next time you ponder about the Arkansas state dinosaur, think of the Arkansaurus fridayi – a unique symbol of Arkansas’s prehistoric past and a fascinating creature that continues to captivate our imagination.

Leave a Comment