Delaware’s state fruit is the strawberry. The state tree is the American holly. The state flower is the peach blossom and the state beverage is milk.
Soon, Delaware may add a state dinosaur and reptile to the list.
The House Administration Committee released two bills Wednesday to designate the dryptosaurus as the state dinosaur and the green turtle as the state reptile.
The dinosaur bill was drafted by students at Shue-Medill Middle School who researched and identified the dryptosaurus as the best choice.
The Delaware Museum of Nature and Science assisted the students with research and the decision was reached through a school-wide vote.
Dryptosauridae bones have been found in the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal near the Reedy Point Bridge in Delaware City.
The only other dinosaur bones that have been found in Delaware are those of a hadrosaurid, most likely Hadrosaurus foulkii, which New Jersey has already designated as its official state dinosaur.
A reconstruction of a dryptosaurid skeleton, Dryptosaurus aquilunguis, is on display in the new PaeloZone of the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science.
Using their research, the students drafted the whereas clauses for the bill to explain the basis for their selection, which includes all of the following:
- The Dryptosauridae was bird-like but was also a predator and is related to Tyrannosaurus rex.
- Delaware’s state bird is the blue hen chicken, so it would be meaningful to have a bird-like state dinosaur.
- Delaware is also home to the Dover Air Force Base, and this dinosaur relied on speed to escape from predators and was incredibly fast.
- The Dryptosauridae went to the ancient shoreline, but feasted on land like Delaware’s shore birds do now, so it is a reminder of Delaware’s ecosystems and how populations, birds, and sea life must be protected.
Separately, House Bill 101, sponsored by Rep. Steve Smyk, R-Milton, would designate the green turtle as Delaware’s state reptile for one year. The bill includes a sunset provision and a different reptile could be designated after that period of time.
Smyk wants the green turtle to be Delaware’s state reptile because:
- The Delaware Daughters of the American Revolution have found that the State of Delaware has omitted from the Delaware Code the official designation of a State reptile.
- Many states have designated an official State reptile to accompany their State flower, State flag, State bird, and State insect.
- The green turtle is found in Delaware marine waters.
- The green turtle is endangered due to commercial harvest for its eggs and meat; and
- Such recognition would support its conservation by raising awareness of its declining numbers.
Both bills will advance to the House floor for a vote.
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