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Senate approves bill making Utahraptor state dinosaur

SALT LAKE CITY — Standing on a chair to address the Senate, 10-year-old Kenyon Roberts displayed his knowledge of dinosaurs to senators after they passed a bill designating the Utahraptor as the state dinosaur.

Roberts was the reason behind SB43, the bill's sponsor, Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, said. Bramble said Roberts, the son of a friend, convinced him to put aside his cynicism about state symbols.

The bill, which passed 26-0 and now goes to the House, initially would have replaced another dinosaur, the Allosaurus, with the Utahraptor that was discovered in Utah as the state fossil. But Bramble said he ended up just adding a new state symbol.

Several senators referred to Roberts' appearance before the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee last week, where he showed off his knowledge of dinosaurs.

"This bright young man made us look really not so bright," said Senate Minority Whip Karen Mayne, D-West Valley.

Roberts briefly put his encyclopedic knowledge to the test again Monday on the Senate floor. Even when he didn't know the answer to a question about how many dinosaurs started with a particular letter, Roberts was quick to respond.

"There are plenty," he said, before admitting he hadn't studied before floor time.

— Lisa Riley Roche