Inside S. Carolina's Tussle Over the ... Woolly Mammoth

Lawmaker calls for Bible quote in fossil bill

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 2, 2014 11:12 AM CDT

(Newser) – Olivia McConnell, 8, wants South Carolina to have a state fossil—after all, it's one of fewer than 10 that don't. But her efforts to get approval for the woolly mammoth have met with some obstacles in the state capital, USA Today reports. Republican state Sen. Kevin Bryant tried last week to get Bible verses from Genesis inserted into the bill that would make the fossil official. His initial amendment was rejected by colleagues, but he believes "it's an appropriate time to acknowledge the creator."

That's why he has introduced a new amendment to the bill, one that paraphrases the Bible; it reads the mammoth was "created on the sixth day with the beasts of the field." Courts have backed the use of Old Testament scripture "because it doesn't point to a single religion," he notes. But he'll support the bill even if the scripture isn't included, he says. Olivia was inspired to write to lawmakers after she noticed that her state had everything from an official folk dance to a state opera, but no fossil—even though one of the first fossils discovered in the US was found in the state. Slaves discovered woolly mammoth teeth on a plantation in 1725, the Daily Beast notes. (One theory as to what wiped out the creatures: a flower shortage.)

Woolly mammoths are stirring up controversy in South Carolina.
Woolly mammoths are stirring up controversy in South Carolina.   (Shutterstock)
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