If you’ve ever wondered about the state symbols of Oklahoma, one that might surprise you is the state dinosaur. Yes, you heard it right! Oklahoma has an official state dinosaur, and it’s none other than the Acrocanthosaurus atokensis. This article will delve into everything there is to know about this incredible creature, from its size compared to a T-Rex to where it lived and what it ate.
Oklahoma State Dinosaur: The Acrocanthosaurus
The Acrocanthosaurus, pronounced as “ak-ro-KAN-tho-SOR-us,” holds the title of the Oklahoma state dinosaur. Its name translates to “high-spined lizard,” a fitting name given its distinctive feature – a row of tall neural spines on its vertebrae. This dinosaur was a theropod, a group of bipedal, primarily carnivorous dinosaurs, which also includes the famous Tyrannosaurus Rex.
When it comes to size, the Acrocanthosaurus held its own against the T-Rex. With an estimated length of 30-40 feet and a weight of around 6 tons, it was one of the largest theropods known to have existed. However, it was slightly smaller than the T-Rex, which could reach lengths of up to 40 feet and weigh as much as 9 tons.
Where Did the Acrocanthosaurus Live?
The Acrocanthosaurus roamed North America during the Early Cretaceous period, approximately 110 million years ago. Fossils found in Oklahoma, Texas, and other parts of the southern and eastern United States suggest that it was widespread across the region. The state fossil of Oklahoma, the Saurophaganax maximus, is another dinosaur from this era, further attesting to the rich prehistoric life in the area.
What Did the Acrocanthosaurus Eat?
As a theropod, the Acrocanthosaurus was carnivorous. Its diet likely consisted of large plant-eating dinosaurs. With its powerful jaws and sharp teeth, it could take down even the largest prey. However, unlike the T-Rex, which had a bone-crushing bite, the Acrocanthosaurus probably used a “slash-and-tear” method to kill and consume its prey.
Fossils in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has a rich history of paleontological discoveries. The first Acrocanthosaurus fossil was discovered in Atoka County, Oklahoma, in the 1940s. Since then, several other fossils have been found, not just of the Acrocanthosaurus but also of various other species, making Oklahoma a significant site for dinosaur enthusiasts and researchers.
Oklahoma State Symbols List
While the Acrocanthosaurus is the most famous among them, there are many other state symbols in Oklahoma. These include the American Bison as the state animal, the Mistletoe as the state floral emblem, and the Honeybee as the state insect. Each symbol represents a unique aspect of Oklahoma’s natural history and cultural heritage.
The Acrocanthosaurus atokensis, the state dinosaur of Oklahoma, is a testament to the state’s rich geological and paleontological history. It stood tall and formidable amongst its contemporaries, leaving behind a fossil record that continues to fascinate us today. So, the next time you think of Oklahoma’s state symbols, remember the Acrocanthosaurus – a symbol of a time when dinosaurs ruled the world.
Whether you’re interested in the Acrocanthosaurus height, where it lived, or what it ate, we hope this article has provided you with all the information you need. And who knows? Maybe your next trip could be a fossil hunt in Oklahoma!