December 14th, 2008

Official State Facts

Official State Facts

I grew up in Connecticut. It's a lovely place. Although I'm very happy where I am now in the San Francisco Bay Area, every now and then I miss the Nutmeg State. I recently found out these mesmerizing official facts about it.

The State Folk Dance of Connecticut is the square dance, so named by the General Assembly in 1995. I guess they had little other legislating to do that year.

The State Mineral of Connecticut is Almandine garnet (Fe3Al2(SiO4)3).

The State Insect of Connecticut is the European "praying" mantis (Mantis religiosa). Why could they not have chosen an insect native to Connectiut?

The State Animal of Connecticut is the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus). It has the largest brain of any creature ever existing on earth. Macrocephalus means "giant brain."

The State Fossil of Connecticut is Eubrontes giganteus, a three-toed, eighteen-foot-long carnivorous dinosaur. Wow. Connecticut has a State Fossil. I wonder when Sen. Lieberman will usurp its place?


So then I had to look up their California equivalents.

The State Folk Dance of California is the square dance, same as Connecticut. But the State Dance of California is West Coast Swing Dancing.

The State Mineral of California is gold. Duh, a no-brainer.

The State Insect of California is the California dogface butterfly (Zerene eurydice), a California native. They were smart, picking a native insect.

The State Animal of California is the California grizzly bear (Ursus californicus). It is not longer found in California.

The State Fossil of California is the saber-toothed cat (Smilodon californicus), whose bones are found abundantly in the La Brea Tar Pits. If it was up to me, I'd name Ronald Reagan California's official State Fossil, but I don't get to decide stuff like that.

Here are some more obscure official facts for California. The State Rock of California is serpentine. California was the first state to designate a State Rock.  There is also an official State Soil of California: San Joaquin Soil. Wow! State Dirt! Take that, Connecticut, Official State Soil-less State! Ha!

The State Grass of California is Purple needlegrass (Nassella pulchra). It is the most widespread native bunchgrass, growing throughout the State.

The State Colors of California are blue, for the skies, and gold, for the precious metal in the hills.

Both states have an official State Tartan. I cannot imagine why any state would require an official State Tartan.

Here's a kids' quiz about Connecticut. (I got 80% correct! )


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