Dinosaurs in California

Until the 1930s, people thought no dinosaurs ever existed in California. Later the bones of a hadrosaur called Kritosaurus were found here. Since then, more fossils have been uncovered. But these fossils point to just a few kinds of dinosaurs in California. A duck-billed hadrosaur roamed the area around 66 million years ago in the Cretaceous period. It was Augustynolophus, a massive herbivore that only lived in this state. Nicknamed Auggie, it became the state dinosaur in 2017. The Nodosaurus was another unique dinosaur found here. It was armored.

Paleontologists believe many more dinosaurs probably lived in the Golden State, but lack of evidence has prevented their identification. So the below list is not exhaustive.

Dinosaurs in California

List of Dinosaurs That Lived in California

  • Albertosaurus
  • Aletopelta
  • Anchisauripus
  • Augustynolophus                
  • Grallator
  • Kritosaurus
  • Nodosaurus
  • Saurolophinae

Apart from the above, fossils of various unidentified hadrosaurs have been found dating back to the late Cretaceous period. Also uncovered was a small bone from an unidentified theropod’s leg that is the only proof of theropods living in this state.

Places Where the Fossils are Preserved

Although California is not known for its dinosaurs, it has several museums to educate people about them. The fossils of some of the above dinosaurs, like the Albertosaurus and Nodosaurus, can be seen in the Fossil Mysteries Exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Only two fossils of the Augustynolophus were recovered from the Fresno and San Benito Counties, and they are exhibited in the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.