Australia's Age of Dinosaurs represented on new stamps

September 24th, 2013

This new stamp issueby Australia Post illustrates six prehistoric animals that lived in Australia during the Cretaceous period (around 145 million years ago to 65 million years ago).

Five of these animals are dinosaurs. The fifth, Koolasuchus is an amphibian that persisted on this continent long after it had become extinct elsewhere, a living fossil of its time. From left to right, the minisheet covers a period of nearly 30 million years and extends from the older, polar Victoria to the younger, more temperate Queensland.

During those 30 million years, the most profound change that ever occurred in the terrestrial flora took place. This was the appearance of the flowering plants.

The particular animals chosen were from Queensland and Victoria because it is in those two states that the vast majority of dinosaur material has been found on this continent.

The amphibian and with one exception, all the dinosaurs depicted, have never previously been illustrated on stamps.

The one exception is Timimus, a dinosaur that is now interpreted as a member of a quite different group than when illustrated on an Australian stamp in 1993. This is a perfect example of how science works -a revision of a viewpoint in the light of new information.

This issue has been developed with the assistance of palaeontologists at the Museum of Victoria and expert dinosaur illustrator, James Gurney.

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