This Act designates the Dryptosauridae as the official dinosaur of this State. Dryptosauridae bones have been found in the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. The only other dinosaur bones that have been found in Delaware are those of a hadrosaurid, most likely Hadrosaurus foulkii, which New Jersey has already designated as its official state dinosaur.
Students at Shue-Medill Middle School, in the Christina School District, researched and identified the Dryptosauridae as the best choice for the official state dinosaur for Delaware. The Delaware Museum of Nature and Science assisted the students with this research and the decision that the Dryptosauridae would be the best choice for Delaware’s official state dinosaur was reached through a school-wide vote. A reconstruction of a dryptosaurid skeleton, Dryptosaurus aquilunguis, will be on display in the new PaeloZone of the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science.
Using their research, the students drafted the whereas clauses for this Act to explain the basis for their decision, which includes all of the following:
1. The Dryptosauridae was bird-like but was also a predator and is related to Tyrannosaurus rex.
2. Delaware’s state bird is the blue hen chicken, so it would be meaningful to have a bird-like state dinosaur.
3. Delaware is also home to the Dover Air Force Base, and this dinosaur relied on speed to escape from predators and was incredibly fast.
4. The Dryptosauridae went to the ancient shoreline, but feasted on land like Delaware’s shore birds do now, so it is a reminder of Delaware's ecosystems and how populations, birds, and sea life must be protected.