Wyoming Littles: Triceratops A Good State Dinosaur, Because Self-Defense

First and second graders in Clearmont, Wyoming on Wednesday said that the state dinosaur, triceratops, fits Wyoming because triceratops are great at self-defense.

Clair McFarland

September 21, 20224 min read

Wyoming littles 9 21 22 scaled

Triceratops is the perfect state dinosaur for Wyoming because it’s good at self-defense. 

At least that’s what the first- and second-graders of Clearmont Elementary School in northern Wyoming say.   

“I think triceratops are good because they use their weapons to protect themselves,” said Sabriel, a girl in second grade at Clearmont, in a Wednesday video interview with Cowboy State Daily.

Sabriel said Wyomingites also are good at protecting themselves.  

Wyoming chose triceratops as its state dinosaur in 1994 following a question posed to elementary schoolers statewide. That was a generation ago, but many little ones of today agree with the choice.    

But the children in Ms. Joslyn Camino’s first- and second-grade class in Clearmont said triceratops also are complicated.   

“They’re nice, because they don’t hurt that many people,” said Casey, a second-grade boy who sits next to Sabriel in class.   

Another boy, Grady, warned that triceratops could be bad, because they use their horns as weapons.   

“That’s why my dad doesn’t let cows grow their horns: so they take some kind of special thing off, so they can’t use those as weapons like triceratops did,” said Grady.   

Jonah, a boy in first grade, said other dinosaurs had to be careful around triceratops, because triceratops would put family loyalty above passing friendships.   

“They use their horns as weapons to attack their enemies,” said Jonah. “Because they’re not a family with them.”   

Here Owen, a boy in second grade, nodded. A Wyomingite himself, Owen feels kinship with the hardy triceratops.   

“I think they’re good for us, because they represent how we strongly protect,” said Owen.   


Most of the children in Ms. Camino’s class yelled “noooooo!” when asked if another dinosaur would do for Wyoming. But some of them offered up possible dinosaur alternatives, just in case.   

Grady described the Spinosaurus, whose fossils inspired dragon lore in ancient China.   

The “Who Would Win?” children’s book series pitted Spinosaurus against triceratops in one of its fictional matchups, said Grady.   

Triceratops won.   

“Well, in the fight, triceratops won because the Spinosaurus got stuck in the earthquake. But without the earthquake and everything, the Spinosaurus would have won. He was faster and a LOT deadlier,” Grady said.   

It seems in Wyoming, seismic activity is on our side.   


Straus, a boy in second grade, made a case for brontosaurus, of “Land Before Time” fame because it could stomp carnivores and win wars.   

“Like, if there was a giant war, he could win, because a human is as small as his toe,” Straus said.   

Casey advocated for velociraptors, because they’re successful hunters like so many Wyomingites.   

Sabriel agreed with him. She also liked her shirt that day.   

“I’m getting hot in this sweatshirt. Who wants to see my shirt?” asked Sabriel.   

The class quarreled mildly about exactly what velociraptors look like. One student quipped, “You better stop before we have a fist fight.”   

But there was no fist fight.    

Audy, a boy in second-grade, said T-Rex may fit Wyoming because both T-Rex and Wyoming are “cool.”

After Casey proposed giganotosaurus – a beefed-up version of T-Rex – Teagan, a girl in second grade, brought the conversation back around to something highly valued in Wyoming.   

“Triceratops is special for us,” she said, “because they can defend their selves, like we can defend ourselves, too.” 

Share this article



Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter