Kansas Rep. Tom Sloan agrees to back X-fish as state’s official fossil

A Kansas lawmaker has agreed to introduce legislation designating an ancient sea creature the state’s official fossil.

Kansas House District 45 Representative Tom Sloan of Lawrence made the announcement Monday after receiving a petition with about 3,000 names. The petition urges lawmakers to bestow state fossil honors on the Xiphactinus or “X-fish.”

Remains of the long-extinct fish have been excavated from the Kansas prairie, which was once covered with water.

Kansas fossil hunter Alan Detrich has repeatedly pursued the designation for the fish. In 2000, he even asked voters to write in “X-fish” in races where candidates had no opposition.

Now, Detrich hopes the Legislature will recognize a state fossil in time for the state’s 150th birthday next year.

Sloan, a Republican, is running for re-election against Democrat Linda Robinson.