“King of the Tyrant Lizards” on American Postage Stamps
The United States Postal Service saluted one of natural history’s superstars this week, with the introduction of a set of stamps depicting Tyrannosaurus rex, which has been known to science for over a hundred years. One of the apex predators of the tail-end of the Mesozoic is commemorated with new Forever stamps, reflecting current scientific thinking about T. rex which roamed North America around sixty-six million years ago.
The Four U.S. Postal Service Stamps (2019) that Feature Tyrannosaurus rex
Picture Credit: U.S. Postal Service
Two of the four designs show movement when rotated. See the skeletal remains with and without flesh and watch as an approaching T. rex suddenly lunges forward. This printing method was first used by the Postal Service to produce the Rabbit and Hat stamp on the Art of Magic souvenir pane in 2018.
A Dinosaur that has Stirred the Public’s Imagination for over a Hundred Years
Speaking at the dedication ceremony for these stamps held at the prestigious Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (Washington D.C.), Isaac Cronkhite, the U.S. Postal Service’s chief human resources officer and executive vice president stated:
“With the dedication of these dazzling new Forever stamps today, the Postal Service pays tribute to the king of dinosaurs. More than any other dinosaur, since its discovery more than a century ago, the T. rex has stirred the public imagination. We are proud to bring the powerful T. rex on stamps that will whiz through the mail stream on millions of birthday cards, letters and thank-you notes.”
Available in Panes of Sixteen Stamps with Four Designs
Picture Credit: U.S. Postal Service
The Digital Artwork of Julius T. Csotonyi
The artwork for these dinosaur-themed stamps was created by renowned palaeoartist Julius T. Csotonyi and these stamps are available in sets of sixteen with four different designs depicting this iconic dinosaur at different growth stages and reflecting inferred behaviours. Julius T. Csotonyi created photorealistic illustrations of T. rex with depictions based on the growing body of research on these dinosaurs. The artist painted digitally using a stylus on a computer screen, an approach he likens to acrylic painting. Art director Greg Breeding designed the pane.
The Newly Hatched T. rex – Artwork Created by Julius T. Csotonyi
Picture Credit: U.S. Postal Service based on original artwork by Julius T. Csotonyi
The “Nation’s T. rex“
The young, sub-adult T. rex that is featured on two of the stamps, is specimen number MOR-555, discovered in 1988 on federal land in Montana. When first brought to the attention of the scientific community, this specimen was nick-named “the Wankel T. rex” in honour of the person who found these fossilised remains, which represent about 45% of the skeleton of a single T. rex. Painstaking excavation revealed what would become one of the most studied and important tyrannosaur specimens ever found, including the first T. rex arms ever recovered. The Nation’s T. rex is now exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.
This is not the first time that dinosaurs have featured on a set of postage stamps. Many stamps featuring prehistoric animals have been issued. For example, back in 2013, Everything Dinosaur team members were asked to help write the press releases for a set of prehistoric animal stamps produced by Royal Mail: Royal Mail Issues New Prehistoric Animal Stamps.
A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:
“It is great to see that such an iconic animal from North America’s natural history being honoured in this way. These stamps are ‘roarsome’!”
Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from the United States Postal Service in the compilation of this article.