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Australia 1993 "Dinosaur Era" (mint)

Issue Date 01.10.1993
ID Michel:  1370-1375, 15 Scott:  1342-1347, 1347a, 1347b, 1347c Stanley Gibbons: 1423-1428, 1429 Yvert:  1328-1333, 20 UPU: N/A Category: pR
Author Stamp and cover illustrations: Peter Trusler, Melboume
Typography: Sue Passmore, Australia Post Graphic Design Studio
Stamps in set 6
Value 45c Ornithocheirus   
45c Leaellynasaura  
45c Allosaurus        
45c Timimus        
75c Muttaburrasauru
$1.05 Minmi             
Size (width x height)
Layout 15 stamps per sheet
Products FDC x 1  MS x1
Perforation 14.5x14
Print Technique

offset, multicolor

Printed by McPherson's Printing
Issuing Authority Australia Post
Dinosaur era stamps of Australia 1993

Turning back the clock to the late 1800s, the first Australian dinosaurs were discovered but remained extremely rare among Australian fossils. Between the time 1932 and 1981 no new dinosaur research was carried out, though in recent years some exciting discoveries have been made.
Dinosaurs dominated Earth for more than 160 milion years. The stamps in the mini-sheet show a scene from the early Cretaceous period in Australia (more than 100 million years ago).  Two of these stamps are issued as self adhesive too.

Ornithocheirus pterosaurus on stamp of Australia 1993
Flying reptiles or pterosaurs were not dinosaurs. However, they lived at the same time and were warm-bloodedthe energy demands of flight could never be met with a cold-blooded metabolism. Ornithocheirus lived in the Late Cretaceous and is also found in Europe, South America and Africa.
During the 19th century, in England many fragmentary pterosaur fossils were found in the Cambridge Greensand
First found in Australia in 1979, near Boulia in south-western Queensland. It was a coastal species, and had a wing span of about 2.5 metres.
Leaellynasaura dinosaur on stamp of Australia 1993

About the size of a chicken with a skull only 6 centimetres long, Leaellynasaura was a bipedal herbivorous dinosaur. Its eyes were exceptionally large, as was the part of the brain dedicated to processing visual signals (the optic lobes). It would appear to have been adapted for life in semi-darkness. During much of the Cretaceous, when Leaellynasaura lived, Australia was far closer to the South Pole than it is now, and would have been almost continuously dark for two or three months of each year. It has been suggested that this little dinosaur, too small to migrate,remained active throughout the long winter.

Allosaurus dinosaur on stamp of Australia 1993

Allosaurus was the big predator of the North  American Late Jurassic, 135 million years ago, so it is a  surprise to find it in Australia some 10 to 20 million years later. It grew to 12 metres long, and weighed up to two tonnes.

Timimus dinosaur on stamp of Australia 1993

This ornithomimosaur (ostrich mimic dinosaur) is known from two thigh bones discovered in 1992. It probably looked something like a big emu, but with strong arms and a long, stiff tail. It probably fed on both plants and small animals, and relied on its great speed to escape predators.


Minmi dinosaur on stamp of Australia 1993

This was a small (no more than 4 metres long), Early Cretaceous ankylosaur (armoured dinosaur), was first found near Minmi Crossing
in Queensland.  It may have relied on its speed rather than its bony armour for protection from predators.







Muttaburrasaurus dinosaur on stamp of Australia 1993

All but the tail of this dinosaur has been found, near Muttaburra in Queensland. Many of its bones were originally collected by local people, but after palaeontologists had excavated the remainder of the skeleton, a public appeal was made for the return of bones and the skeleton was reconstructed.
Muttaburrasaurus lived during the Early Cretaceous, 110 million years ago. It was similar in general shape to lguanadon and like its relative, a plant eater. About 8 metres long, it probably walked and ran on its hind legs, but was able to move on all fours when feeding. Its thumb claw was a flattened spike which may have been used for defence.

The broad head ended in a horny beak which was used to tear leaves, twigs and fruit from trees; further back in the jaws were shearing teeth to slice up the food. The top of the snout was expanded into a strange, hollow dome, similar to those seen in some duck-billed dinosaurs.
Connected to the nasal passages, these are generally considered to have been resonating chambers, allowing the dinosaurs to produce loud noises either as part of their mating ritual or to scare predators. Muttaburrasaurus probably lived in herds.

Mini Sheets: original on the left and two overprinted in golden colour (seen as black on the scan) on the right side
Dinosaurs on mini sheet of Australia 1993 Dinosaurs on mini sheet of Australia 1993
FDC: official (left) and some personalized (right) . The reverse side of an official FDC has some brief information about the stamps.
Dinosaur era stamps on FDC of Australia 1993 Dinosaur era stamps on FDC of Australia 1993
Presentation Pack Books
Dinosaur era stamps in Presentation Pack of Australia 1993 Dinosaur era stamps in Presentation Pack of Australia 1993
Maxi Cards  Some used covers and cards
Dinosaur era stamps in Presentation Pack of Australia 1993 Dinosaur era stamps in Presentation Pack of Australia 1993



  Australia 1993 self adhesive


Recommended books:

Australia's Lost World. A history of Australia's backboned animals
Patricia Vickers-Rich, Leaellyn S.Rich and Thomas H.Rich. Published 1996, Kangaroo Press.
ISBN 0 86417 798 4

Cover: The dinosaurs Minmi paravertebra, Atlascopcosaurus loadsi, and Timimus hermani, and the pterosaur Ornithocheirus, from an Australia Post stamp issue painted by Peter Trusler .
Written mainly for upper primary an

d early secondary students, with the input of Drs Tom Rich and Pat Vickers-Richs' teenage daughter Leaellyn (after whom the dinosaur Leaellynasaura was named) to ensure the book is easy to read and accessable to most people. The copious photographs and illustrations make it of interest to people of all ages. It is essentially a brief history of Australian life from the first unicellular blobs to the late pleistocene. The chapter on dinosaurs tends to concentrate on the Dinosaur Cove discoveries, which is hardly surprising considering the authors. Although published in 1996 the book did not receive widespread distribution until the release of the movie Jurassic Park: The Lost World.

Available on Amazon:  USA  IT  DE FR  UK

Digging up Deep Time

Paul Willis and Abbie Thomas
Published 2005. ABC Books & Audio / BBC Audio Australia

Australia is home to some of the world's earliest and most unique fossil finds. By investigating each important fossil site in Australia, Paul Willis builds a picture of Australia's earliest prehistory. As well as describing the fascinating natural history of this country, the authors recount the rollicking stories of our dinosaur hunters competing to find the most important fossils and to protect their discoveries.

Available on Amazon: USA   UK

Dinosaurs of Darkness: Life of the Past

Patricia Vickers-Rich and Thomas H.Rich. Published 2000. Indiana University Press.
ISBN 0 2533 3773 9

Cover: Hypsilophodontids under an auroral polar sky, with Timimus hybernating in the foreground, by Peter Trusler

Dinosaurs of Darkness opens a doorway to a fascinating former world which existed in Australia more than 100 million years ago - when it was a polar region joined to Antarctica and plunged into darkness much of the year. The way we have come to know about this lost world - so different from any that exists on Earth today - makes for a fascinating story. The authors, who played crucial roles in this discovery, describe their efforts to collect the fossils indispensable to our knowledge of this realm and the laboratory work that unlocked their secrets. Dinosaurs of Darkness is an intriguing personal account of the way scientific research is actually conducted and how hard it is to mine the knowledge of this remarkable life of the past.

Available on Amazon: USA  IT  DE  FR  ES  UK


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References:  back side of FDC  Biology on Stamps  Wikipedia


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