Scotty the T. rex is now Saskatchewan's official fossil emblem after winning a popularity contest organized by the officials of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM).
The 65-million-year-old fossilized bones of the Tyrannosaurus rex was unearthed in Eastend, Saskatchewan during the 1990s. It was the most preferred fossil over six other choices, including Kyle the woolly mammoth. Of the 14,208 Saskatchewan online votes, Scotty got 35 percent or 4,923.
Scotty's almost complete skeleton is displayed at the T.rex Discovery Centre in Eastend, which will be open for summer tourists from May 21 to Sept. 25.
"We have a beautiful skeleton," said Tim Tokaryk, resident palaeontologist of the RSM. "[It is] 65 percent complete: head to most of the end of the tail, and he's one of the most massive T. rexes known."
Scotty's tooth and a vertebra were initially spotted by high school instructor Robert Gebhardt while on an expedition with museum experts. Subsequent excavation revealed that Scotty's fossils were almost complete.
Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport Mark Docherty said that RSM staff rallied to have a designated fossil emblem to increase the residents' - particularly the children's - awareness about Saskatchewan's history. He said that the fossils would give an insight into the province's story - how it evolved and how it will continue to evolve in the years to come.
"I would like to thank the public who took interest and participated in this campaign, along with the RSM who facilitated the selection of the next provincial emblem," said Docherty. "Scotty the T. rex will make a wonderful provincial emblem. No other province or state has a T. rex as an official emblem; Saskatchewan is the first and only."
Docherty also shared that he appreciates all the kids and students who joined in the activities leading to the announcement of the provincial emblem.
Aside from Scotty, RSM palaeontologists have previously discovered a fossil that shed light on Earth's ecology prior to dinosaur extinction about 66 million years ago.
The Government of Saskatchewan Protocol Office is expected to induct Scotty by the end of the year.