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The Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals of Arkansas


Arkansas isn't exactly a hotbed of paleontology, but this midwestern state does have some prehistoric animals to brag about, as listed below. (See an interactive map of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals in the United States.)

1. Megalonyx

American Museum of Natural History
Just as Arkansaurus (above) is the only dinosaur ever to be discovered in Arkansas, so Megalonyx, also known as the Giant Ground Sloth, is the only prehistoric mammal. The claim to fame of this 500-pound beast is that its fossils were originally described by Thomas Jefferson, years before he became the third president of the United States. More about Megalonyx

2. Arkansaurus

Utah Geological Survey
The only dinosaur ever to be discovered in Arkansas, Arkansaurus was initially identified as a specimen of Ornithomimus. The problem is that the sediments where Arkansaurus was unearthed (in 1972) predate the golden age of Ornithomimus by several million years; another possibility is that this dinosaur represents an entirely new genus, or perhaps a species of the equally obscure Nedcolbertia.

3. The Carolina Parakeet

carolina parakeet
Wiesbaden Museum
As you might have surmised from its name, the Carolina Parakeet is most often identified with North and South Carolina. However, the remains of this inoffensive, pigeon-sized bird have also been found in Arkansas. Carolina Parakeets paired off and mated for life, which didn't impress the shotgun-wielding hunters that hounded them into extinction only 100 years ago. More about the Carolina Parakeet
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