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Kansas State Symbol - Land Fossil

Silvisaurus Condrayi

Silvisaurus Condrayi courtesy University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute and Natural History MuseumThe Kansas State Symbol - Land Fossil - is the Silvisaurus Condrayi, or woodland lizard, that lived from the Early to Late Cretaceous period. This fossil of this medium-sized, four-legged, armored plant-eater is the only known dinosaur from the Dakota Formation in Kansas. The discovery is considered significant for its kind, studied scientists, and opening a window to a previously unknown dinosaur. (Image courtesy University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute & Natural History Museum.)

The fossil’s remains were discovered by a rancher in Ottawa County in 1955. Warren Wilbur Condray was a farmer and rancher near Wells who found the fossil on his land. He notified U.S. Senator Frank Carlson, who put him in contact with the University of Kansas. The university’s paleontology department helped investigate, recover, and prepare the fossil. In 1960 it was named in his honor.

The incomplete fossil included a skull, mandible, eight neck vertebrae, 10 dorsal vertebrae, and portions of a right femur and toe. Plates and spikes from the body armour were also discovered. The bones were weathered, having been exposed in a dry riverbed.

The Silvisaurus, classified as a nodosaurid ankylosaur, was about 13 feet in length with a skull 13 inches long and nearly 10 inches wide.

The Silvisaurus Condrayi was named a Kansas State Symbol in 2023.

Entry: Kansas State Symbol - Land Fossil

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: April 2023

Date Modified: April 2023

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.