State fossil bill moves forward

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana House of Representatives unanimously voted for legislation authored by Rep. Randy Frye, R-Greensburg, to designate the mastodon as the official state fossil of Indiana.

“Indiana is one of the few states without an official state fossil,” Frye said. “This bill recognizes the importance of our state’s rich heritage with mastodons, and will inspire Hoosier children to learn about the fossil of a huge mammal that stood on the very ground we walk today.”

According to Frye, the remains of approximately 300 mammoths and mastodons have been found in nearly all of the state’s 92 counties.

Frye said the inspiration for authoring the bill came from touring the Hanover College Science Center with retired geology professor Dr. Stanley Totten. Hanover College houses a life-size skeletal cast of the world’s most complete American mastodon, “The Burning Tree Mastodon.” Earlham College, the Indiana State Museum and the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis also house mastodon skeletons.

Mastodons are prehistoric relatives of today’s elephants that scientists believe roamed North America, Europe and Asia before becoming extinct more than 10,000 years ago.

House Bill 1013 now moves to the Indiana Senate for further consideration. To learn more, visit