The governor of Massachusetts has officially signed a bill for declaring Podokesaurus holyokensis the official state dinosaur (if we want to be pedantic, one of the official state dinosaurs, the others being the black-capped chickadee and the wild turkey). This came about after state rep Jack Lewis started an online poll last year asking the public to vote for what our official state dinosaur would be as a fun way to teach kids about the legislative process. The choices were Podokesaurus holyokensis and the Anchisaurus polyzelus and Podokesaurus won. The process of making it official took over a year to do, and now it’s done and we have a state dinosaur.
Podokesaurus was discovered and named by American paleontologist Mignon Talbot near Mount Holyoke in 1910. Talbot was the first woman to find and name a non-avian dinosaur, and the only person to have found Podokesaurus fossils to date.
Podokesaurus was a small therapod that lived in the early to mid Jurassic, was possibly carnivorous, and about a meter long. It had hollow bones, and is speculated to have been able to run pretty fast (around 15-20 km/h). My mental image of the podokesaurus is like a very large road runner, scurrying about the Jurassic and going “beep beep”, but that is pure unqualified speculation on my part.