Dino-mite! We Struck Gold

Meet Augustynolophus morrisi—Auggie, for shortCalifornia's official state dinosaur!

Augustynolophus California State Dinosaur

Move over golden poppy and grizzly bear, and make room for another gawk-worthy state emblem.
This duck· billed hadrosaur stomped around these parts 66 million years ago near what is now central California. About as long as a school bus, these dinosaurs probably browsed the landscape for trees and small plants, using their broad teeth, perfect instruments for grinding chewy leaves. Though Augustynolophus lived on land, some were swept out to sea after they died, eventually settling to the bottom of the ocean, which covered much of ancient California.


Augustynolophus Morrisi

What a Genus

Encased in layers of sediment for eons, Augustynolophus remains were uncovered by a team from the California Institute of Technology starting in 1939. At that time, the fossils were classified as Saurolophus, a type of hadrosaur first discovered in 1912. But years later, a team that included NHMLAC's Dinosaur Institute Director Dr. Luis Chiappe, determined upon closer examination that this dinosaur was unique and deserving of its own distinct genus. It was reclassified and given a new name: Augustynolophus morrisi, honoring two notable Californians, Dr. William J. Morris and Gretchen Augustyn. Dr. Morris was a geologist and paleontologist who was responsible for many of the dinosaur discoveries along the western coast of North America. Augustyn is a longtime supporter of the Museum's scientific and educational programs. 

Today, the only two known fossil specimens of Augustynolophus in the world reside at NHM, and visitors can find this Cretaceous herbivore and its contemporaries on the upper deck of the Dinosaur Hall.