Colorado, the state with one of the most recognizable standard vehicle license plates in the country, featuring a green and white mountain range image, will soon offer drivers a stylized plate unlike any seen on American roadways.
Governor Jared Polis has approved a new special license plate sure to be all the rage with drivers who love dinosaurs.
The new design pays homage to an animal that now lives only in museum exhibits, media depictions, and our imaginations.
Long before the Rocky Mountains were formed, 30-foot long Stegosaurus grazed the flatlands and fought off Allosaurus attacks with its unique-to-the-species spiked tail.
Fossilized bones of this now iconic creature were first excavated in Morrison, Colorado and named by famous paleontologist O.C. Marsh in 1877 during the so-called Bone Wars. In 1982 the armored herbivore with the plated back (Stegosaurus means roofed lizard) beat out other local dinosaurs to become Colorado’s official state fossil.
The license plate was proposed by the nonprofit that provides tours and children’s camps at the outdoor museum known as Dinosaur Ridge.
This fossiliferous section of the Morrison Formation on Jefferson County Open Space land still contains visible bones embedded in Jurassic layers.
Atop Cretaceous age layers hundreds of dinosaur footprints are fossilized in what paleontologists have ranked the #1 dinosaur tracksite in North America.
Dinosaur Ridge is part of the Morrison-Golden Fossil Areas National Natural Landmark (NNL), designated by the U.S. Department of the Interior 50 years ago in November 1973.
Like all NNLs, the designation includes an agreement with landowners to preserve the site for future generations.
Proceeds from license plate sales will provide financial support for efforts to protect the fossil resources at this nationally recognized site.
The plate is expected to be available in January 2024.