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8-Year-Old Spurs State Fossil Law in South Carolina

A bill, naming the Columbian Mammoth as South Carolina’s state fossil was signed into law Tuesday after meeting unexpected opposition.
Posted at 1:35 PM, May 28, 2014

South Carolina now has an official state fossil.

Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill Tuesday that makes the Columbian Mammoth the state fossil. (Wikimedia Commons / Charles R. Knight)

The idea came from eight-year-old Olivia McConnell, who wrote a letter to Haley explaining why South Carolina needed a state fossil. She pointed out South Carolina was one of only seven states that didn't have one. (Via WJBF / Office of Gov. Nikki Haley)

According to a press release, “[Olivia] suggested that the state’s fossil should be the Columbian Mammoth, after her research revealed that mammoth teeth were first found in South Carolina in 1725.”

State symbol legislation is reportedly often proposed by students working on class projects. So this one seemed easy enough to pass. Well, wrong. Because politics.

WLTX reports, its first roadblock came from a state senator, who said the state already had too many symbols.

That argument was dropped. But Senator Kevin Bryant decided to offer an amendment to the bill, saying the mammoth was created on the sixth day of creation.

"I felt like it's a great creature and it would be a good time to acknowledge the Creator." (Via WLTX)

Although that passed the Senate, the House rejected the amendment. The bill then moved forward without it.

​Olivia was there, next to Haley, when the bill was signed into law. She spoke at the event. “The fossil bill, it had a very good purpose. And I didn’t want the history to be lost, and I had to do something about it.” ​(Via YouTube / nikkihaley)

The Sumter Item writes, “Olivia had the type of moment most political operatives can only dream of, drawing more media attention than many state legislators could ever hope to imagine.”

The third grader is reportedly working on a children’s book based on her experience, according to The Item. But we’re guessing it’ll be more about fossils and less about legislative roadblocks.