‘Swift-Footed Lizard’ Named Massachusetts Official State Dinosaur

by Tia Bailey
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(Photo via Getty Images/Stock Photo)

A new lizard has been named Massachusetts’ official state dinosaur. The lucky reptile is the swift-footed lizard, and was signed into law on Wednesday.

The swift-footed lizard, also known as the podokesaurus holyokensis, lived millions of years ago. State Rep. Jack Lewis set up a poll in a social media campaign, and the lizard received about 35,000 votes.

“If I think about my own childhood … the thing that got me interested in science in the first place was dinosaurs. The main reason they got me interested is because of their majesty, and their ferocity and their almost alien-being status. As a kid, they just created wonder,” he said.

It was Lewis’s idea to have a state dinosaur in the first place. He came up with it during the start of the pandemic when coming up with projects for Cub Scouts.

According to the Associated Press, Lewis shared that doing this not only taught the kids about science, but also about the legislative process. He also shared that the lizard’s scientific name comes from western Massachusetts Mount Holyoke College professor Mignon Talbot, who discovered the dinosaur in 1910. Additionally, she was “the first woman to find, discover, name and describe a dinosaur.”

“Hopefully if this project inspires just a couple young girls to grow up and explore paleontology, it would have been all worth it,” he said.

Massachusetts is now one of about a dozen states to have a state dinosaur.

Giant Lizard Shipped in Container

An intrepid lizard was shipped from Brisbane, Australia to Chichester, England recently. The water lizard, who has been nicknamed Patrick, was found after hitching a ride on the shipment. He is now with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in Brighton.

RSPCA Brighton reptile expert Laurie McColgin shared a statement about the situation.

“As Patrick is wild and was not born in captivity we would like to find him a large specialist home. Ideally in a zoo or somewhere with a large walk-in enclosure,” McColgin said. “It’s likely his voyage would have lasted at least six weeks. It’s unbelievable he managed to survive the ordeal, he is very lucky!”

She also shared that once Patrick is back to full strength, they will research places for him to go.

“We would always advise people to treat any unidentified animal with caution until identified accurately and not to try to handle an animal that has been discovered as accidentally imported,” she wrote. “We are incredibly busy over the summer months so if anyone does find a stowaway as they are unpacking it would really help us if they contacted their nearest zoo or exotic pet shop in the first instance – so our frontline officers can prioritise rescuing animals from cruelty and neglect.”

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