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Dinosaur license plate could be coming to Colorado

Colorado's dinosaur fossils, dinosaur tracks and paleontology sites are among the world's best.

DENVER — Colorado's state fossil could be getting its own license plate.

A bill proposed in the Colorado state legislature would create a special license plate to commemorate the state fossil, the stegosaurus.

Sponsored by Sen. Jessie Danielson, Sen. Lisa Cutter, Rep. Tammy Story, and Rep. Brianna Titone, SB23-145 would create the stegosaurus state fossil license plate for motor vehicles in Colorado.

To get one of the plates with a dinosaur on their vehicle, an applicant would need to make a donation a designated dinosaur nonprofit organization, as well as pay all required motor vehicle taxes and fees.

In addition to the standard motor vehicle fees, the applicant would pay two one-time fees of $25 for issuance of the license plate. One fee would go to the highway users tax fund and the other fee to the licensing services cash fund.

Credit: State of Colorado

"Our stegosaurus license plate bill has passed out of the senate!" Danielson said on Facebook. "Our official state fossil, this Jurassic giant is beloved by Coloradans of all ages."

The world's first stegosaurus fossil was found in Morrison, on the west side of the Denver metro area.

"The new plate will raise awareness about protecting Colorado’s fossils, and will benefit the Dinosaur Ridge, site of the world’s first discovery of stegosaurus fossils," Danielson said.

In March 1877, Arthur Lakes, a professor and geologist, discovered massive dinosaur bones along the Dakota hogback in Morrison. Lakes hoped an expert would be interested in his find and would hire him to continue searching the area.

He first wrote to Othniel Marsh, one of the most prominent dinosaur specialists of the time, about his discovery. Marsh only vaguely responded and then stopped correspondence altogether, so Lakes sent a sample of one of the bones to Marsh’s rival, Edward Cope. As soon as Marsh got word Cope might be interested, he hired Lakes.

For the next two years, Lakes and his colleagues would continue excavating the hogback under Marsh’s direction. It would be one of the most prominent sites of the “Bone Wars” between Marsh and Cope during the late 19th century.

These quarries also yielded the world’s first fossils of the stegosaurus and apatosaurus (better known as the brontosaurus).



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