LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas is the home of the Hogs, but another, more prehistoric animal could be the state’s newest symbol.
A group of state lawmakers voted unanimously to support a high school senior’s proposal that would recognize the only dinosaur ever discovered in the Natural State, the Arkansaurus fridayi.
Cyprus Oury won over legislators with his personality, making them think and laugh about why a dinosaur should be the state’s newest symbol.
The Fayetteville High School senior told a House panel he’s had a fascination with the Arkansaurus fridayi since he was “itty bitty.”
As its name suggests, the dinosaur’s fossils have only been found in Arkansas.
When he was doing research a few years ago, Oury realized Arkansas didn’t have a state dinosaur, but he could make that happen by contacting a state representative.
“I was like, ‘I’m doing that,'” Oury said.
Rep. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, answered his call.
“And now we’re here,” Oury said. “Currently, we only have 24 state symbols and Arkansas is the 25th state in the Union. We kind of need a 25th state symbol if we’re gonna do the whole 25 things.”
Oury joked the state needs to catch up with its border rivals: Texas, Missouri and Oklahoma. That got a good laught and prompted one state representative to ask how the “Oklahomasaurus” would have gotten along with the Arkansaurus fridayi.
“They probably would have just ignored each other,” Oury quipped. “Like you do your thing over in Oklahoma and I’ll do my thing right here in Arkansas. Isn’t that how it is now? You’ve gotta learn from the past to understand the present.”
The bill now moves to the full House.
If passed, Arkansas would join nine other states that recognize an official state dinosaur.
As for Oury, he plans to major in paleontology in college.