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Dinosaur debate advances, but some oppose


The Kansas House advanced a bill to designate the Tylosaurus and Pteranodon as the official state fossils, but not before a lecture from a state legislator that the action was a waste of time.

"This foolishness has to stop sometime," said state Rep. Mike Kiegerl, R-Olathe.

He said the proposal would have no benefit and the Legislature should spend its time on school finance and funding services for those with disabilities.

But other legislators said designating a state marine fossil and state flying fossil would expose Kansas schoolchildren to the natural scientific history of Kansas.

And it would spur tourism, they said, especially at the Kansas University Natural History Museum and Sternberg Museum in Hays.

In fact, famous fossil hunter Alan Detrich will bring a juvenile Tylosaurus skeleton to the Statehouse on Thursday for display.

House Bill 2595 gained preliminary approval 93-13.


Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 2 months ago

I think this is an excellent idea. In the Mesozoic Era Kansas was a huge lake. Imagine these creatures swimming around where we now live. Cool!


Melinda Henderson 4 years, 2 months ago

Ummm, I don't think this is gonna work. These creatures obviously roamed Kansas more than 6000 years ago. How in the world did this bill get preliminary approval in the House?

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 2 months ago

Melinda, 6000 is just a guideline not a rule. When time is eternal what do a few years here or there matter?

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 2 months ago

Because of plate tectonics, the land mass that is now Kansas was somewhere else when these fossils were formed. They were very likely deposited on Gondwana or Pangaea, which began to break apart about 200 million years ago, during the Early Jurassic Period.

But that was not the only time there was just one continent on Earth.

So to say they are "Kansas fossils" is quite a bit of a stretch.

Clips from Encyclopedia Britannica:

Pangea, also spelled Pangaea, in early geologic time, a “supercontinent” that incorporated almost all of Earth’s landmasses and covered nearly one-third of Earth’s surface. It was surrounded by a global ocean called Panthalassa. Pangea was fully assembled by the Early Permian Period, some 270 million years ago. It began to break apart about 200 million years ago, during the Early Jurassic Period, eventually forming the modern continents and the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The existence of the Pangean supercontinent was first proposed in 1912 by the German meteorologist Alfred Wegener as a part of his theory of continental drift. Pangea’s name is derived from the Greek pangaia, meaning “all the Earth.”

During the Early Permian, the northwestern coastline of the ancient continent Gondwana collided with and joined the southern Euramerican continent. With the fusion of the Angaran part of Siberia to this combined landmass during the middle of the Early Permian, the assembly of Pangea was complete. Cathaysia, a landmass comprising both North and South China, was not incorporated into Pangea. Rather, it formed a separate, much smaller, continent within the global ocean, Panthalassa.

The breakup of Pangea is now explained in terms of plate tectonics rather than Wegener’s outmoded concept of continental drift. Plate tectonics states that Earth’s outer shell, or lithosphere, consists of large, rigid plates that move apart at oceanic ridges, come together at subduction zones, or slip past one another along fault lines. The pattern of seafloor spreading indicates that Pangea did not break apart all at once but rather fragmented in distinct stages.

During Earth’s long history, there probably have been several Pangea-like supercontinents. The oldest of these supercontinents is called Rodinia and was formed during Precambrian time some 1 billion years ago. Another Pangea-like supercontinent, Pannotia, was assembled 600 million years ago, at the end of the Precambrian. Present-day plate motions are bringing the continents together once again. Africa has begun to collide with southern Europe, and the Australian plate is now colliding with Southeast Asia. Within the next 50 million years, Africa and Australia will merge with Eurasia to form a supercontinent that approaches Pangean proportions. This episodic assembly of the world’s landmasses has been called the supercontinent cycle or Wegenerian cycle, in honour of Alfred Wegener.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 2 months ago

Well, they are in Kansas now, and that's what matters.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 2 months ago

The Mercedes Benz automobile is also now in Kansas. Maybe the legislators should make the Mercedes Benz the "official state car of Kansas." That would make about as much sense as some other things coming from Topeka.

Chris Golledge 4 years, 2 months ago

I think Tylosaurs were late cretateous, and the land at that time was not a supercontinent. http://www.nature.nps.gov/geology/usgsnps/pltec/sc69ma.html

Wes Gapp 4 years, 2 months ago

Regarding the article title: please note that tylosaurs and pteranodons were not dinosaurs, but were reptiles.

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