Gov. Haley signs State Fossil Bill

Published: May. 27, 2014 at 9:10 PM EDT|Updated: May. 27, 2014 at 9:57 PM EDT
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It's official: South Carolina now has a State Fossil.

Gov. Nikki Haley signed House Bill 4482, naming the Columbian Mammoth as the official state fossil, as a third grader who campaigned for the mammoth looked on.

Olivia McConnell, who attends Carolina Academy in Lake City, wrote to the governor about her personal interest in fossils, pointing out that the Palmetto State was one of only seven states in the country that didn't already have a state fossil. In her letter to Haley, McConnell said the first fossils discovered in North Carolina, those of a mammoth, were found by slaves in South Carolina in 1725. Those fossils are thought to be the first identified vertebrate fossils in North America, according to a release from the governor's office.

McConnell, her mother, and her classmates and teachers were present for a ceremonial signing of the bill on May 16.

"If someone out there has a really big heart and believes strongly, anyone can make a difference, no matter how big or how small," McConnell said. "You can make a difference in the world - you don't have to be little, and you don't have to be big. The fossil bill had a very good purpose and I didn't want this piece of our history to be lost. I had to do something about it, and it was really important that I did it."

According to Wikipedia, the Columbian mammoth was a savanna and grassland inhabitant, similar to the modern African elephant, with large males weighing up to 9 metric tons, nearly 20,000 pounds; the mammoths had spiraledd tusks that could grow to nearly 14 feet in length.

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