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story.lead_photo.caption Artist Brian Engh rendered the Arkansaurus fridayi for ReBecca Hunt-Foster, the paleontologist trying to get the dinosaur officially recognized as a distinct type.

A dinosaur unique to Arkansas has gained more recognition in the scientific community through publication in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

The Arkansaurus fridayi, discovered in 1972 by a man named Joe Friday as he searched for a missing cow in Lockesburg, was submitted in a paper to the journal in early 2017. It was accepted in December and published Monday.

ReBecca Hunt-Foster, an alumna of the University of Arkansas who first encountered related fossils as an undergrad in the early 2000s, told Arkansas Online that the publication gives the dinosaur type an official name in the scientific community.

That, in turn, will enable the research to be used more to formulate comparisons to other fossil findings and updates to family trees, Hunt-Foster said.

“It was a labor of love,” said Hunt-Foster, who now works as a paleontologist with the Bureau of Land Management in Utah.

Hunt-Foster had spent time trying to learn new details on the fossils gifted by Friday but moved on based on the scarcity of cases studies. Then, in 2016, the paleontologist stumbled upon a paper published on a similar North American dinosaur.

Hunt-Foster previously said that such scientific recognition would also be powerful for kids, affording them an enticing historical perspective.

Last year, the Arkansas Legislature passed a bill designating the Arkansaurus fridayi as the state’s official dinosaur.

Information for this article was contributed by Emma Pettit of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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