Arkansaurus Fridayi Published In Professional Journal

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- A prestigious scientific journal published Arkansas' state dinosaur for the first time.

The Arkansaurus Fridayi is of national scientific interest now that it has been officially published in a professional journal for the first time since its discovery.

That publication is called the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

“It's great that these fossils are finally published. They were found in 1972 down by Lockesburg, Arkansas and the paleontologist that had been working on them in 70s passed away in an accident,” lead paleontologist ReBecca Hunt-Foster said.

The fossils weren't worked on again until Hunt-Foster began college at the University of Arkansas. She graduated with her bachelor's degree in 2003.

“I compared our fossils to other similar known fossils from around the world and was able to determine what made our dinosaur from Arkansas special and different from other animals,” she said.

Hunt-Foster said most dinosaurs living during the early cretaceous period, which was 113 million years ago were living in Asia, so we didn't really know much about these animals living in North America.

“That is part of the significances that this is one of the first types found in North America during the early cretaceous and then there are some subtle differences on the bones of the foot that are different from other animals that were living during this time," she said.

She said studying dinosaurs was something she always wanted to do.

“It was really a chance to work on an actual dinosaur that came from our state and so it's the only one that's ever been discovered, so it's kind of fun to be able to tell more people about it," she said.

The Arkansaurus Fridayi was designated our state dinosaur by the state legislature last year. 

The fossils were first discovered by Joe B. Friday on his land between Mena and Texarkana near Lockesburg, Arkansas in 1972.