INDIANAPOLIS — The mastodon is breaking down national political party lines.
According to a press release from U.S. Senators Mike Braun, R-Ind. and Gary Peters, D-Mich., a bill has been introduced to make the mastodon America’s national fossil.
“Mastodons embody the spirit of exploration, resilience and strength that exemplifies our great nation,” Braun said via press release. “As a uniquely American symbol, mastodons inspire us to embrace our heritage and to protect natural treasures that define our country.”
Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) addresses reporters during a press conference on Tuesday, February 14, 2023 to discuss the new Washington, D.C., criminal code introduced by the House.
The mastodon is already the state fossil of both Michigan and Indiana, as remains of the 10-foot, 11-ton behemoths are frequently unearthed in both states. The mastodon became Indiana’s state fossil in 2022, according to IndyStar.
Per Braun and Peters’ release, mastodons walked the Earth more than 13,000 years ago during the Pleistocene era. The mighty mastodon sported a pair of tusks that could measure as long as 16 feet each.
Braun and Peters’ release also indicated that the mastodon was only found in the U.S. — unlike its distant cousin, the mammoth.
“Michigan made history when we uncovered one of the most complete skeletons of the mastodon ever found, and we continue to find traces of this prehistoric giant all throughout our state,” Peters said via release. “The mastodon represents a unique piece of both Michigan’s and our nation’s history. By establishing the mastodon as our national fossil, we can better preserve that history and inspire a new generation of scientists and researchers to continue their pursuit of discovery.”
Braun and Peters’ bill will be known as the National Fossil Act. The bill will provide details on the role of the mastodon in American public life and officially designate it as the country’s national fossil.