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Economic development is a fairly new concept, but The Economic Development Corp. of Utah has gone back 50 million years to grab the attention of companies that might be enticed to expand or relocate their operations in the state.

The lure is the Utah Priscacara, a 4-inch-long fish that swam in ancient waters in southeastern Utah during the Mid-Eocene Epoch.The EDCU recently sent information on Utah's economic advantages for new and expanding business to more than 3,000 of the nation's largest site consulting firms, investment banking companies and law firms involved in office and plant site consulting, said Michael O. Lawson president and chief executive officer of the EDCO.

Recipients who requested additional information were offered a complimentary museum quality reproduction cast, about the size of a postcard, of the fossilized remains of Priscacara.

The back of the cast informs the holder that "Utah has been making lasting impression for eons," describes the fish and notes that the EDCU would be happy to supply information on Utah's desirability as a site for new and expanding business.

"We are seeing very favorable response to the campaign," developed by the Salt Lake City office of EvansGroup Marketing and Communications," said Lawson.

The reproductions of the fish fossil were made by Dinolab, operated by James H. Madsen Jr., former state paleontologist and well-known consultant in the field.

The cast is made of a "water extended polymer," said Madsen, the same material used for dinosaur exhibits worldwide. He said each fossil was custom produced and has its own individual character.

The EDCU has averaged 100 inquiries per month on new business location and expansion since February, said Lawson. In July, 52 percent of the inquiries were a direct result of the Priscacara campaign.

Lawson said the EDCU will use similar strategies at trade shows this year as well as "blitz trips" throughout the nation.

The Economic Development Corp. of Utah is a nonprofit organization that works to increase job growth and capital investment in the state.