Michigan’s State Fossil Could Soon Be the National Fossil of the U.S.
Michigan doesn’t have a State Dinosaur. Unfortunately, when giant lizards roamed the earth, Michigan was mostly covered in ocean still. But after their fall, and during the Ice Age, Michigan was thriving and one of the largest mammals ever to live was walking the earth – The Mastodon.
Mammoths and Mastodons both lived around the same time, and both have been found while digging in Michigan. But in 2002, Michigan picked the Mastodon as its official fossil, and now, two U.S. Senators from the midwest are working to make it the National Fossil for the United States.
U.S. Senator Mike Braun, from Indiana, and U.S. Senator Gary Peters of Michigan have introduced a bill that would make the Mastodon the official National fossil of the country.
“Mastodons embody the spirit of exploration, resilience, and strength that exemplifies our great nation. As a uniquely American symbol, mastodons inspire us to embrace our heritage and to protect natural treasures that define our country.” - Sen. Mike Braun
Michigan has made history in the past, according to Sen. Peters, by finding the some of the most complete skeletons of a Mastodon ever found.
“The Mastodon representa a unique piece of both Michigan’s and our nation’s history. By establishing the Mastodon as our national fossil, we can better preserve that history and inspire a new generation of scientists and researchers to continue their pursuit of discovery.”
Section 1 of the National Fossil Act designates the bill as the National Fossil Act. Section 2 would establish findings on the role of the Mastodon in American public life, and Section 3 would designate it as the national fossil under title 36 of the U.S. Code.
It’s unclear when any voting would take place to make this bill official.
The Mastodon is one of the most abundant fossils found in the state of Michigan, They were slightly smaller than the Wooly Mammoth, but still found primarily in northern, colder climates. Their tusks were typically straighter, whereas Mammoths have longer, more curly tusks. And while Mammoths have been found on nearly every continent in the northern hemisphere, the Mastodon has only primarily been found in North America.