Fearsome Dinosaur Immortalized on Forever Stamps

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service today salutes the dinosaur that dominated the tail end of the dinosaur age with new Forever stamps depicting the awe-inspiring Tyrannosaurus rex in growth stages from infancy to adulthood. The stamps were dedicated at a ceremony held at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

“With the dedication of these dazzling new Forever stamps today, the Postal Service pays tribute to the king of dinosaurs,” said Isaac Cronkhite, the Postal Service’s chief human resources officer and executive vice president, and the stamp ceremony’s dedicating official.

“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,” Cronkhite said.

Joining Cronkhite to dedicate the stamps were Kirk Johnson, director, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History; Matthew Carrano, curator of “Dinosauria,” Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History; Julius T. Csotonyi, scientist and paleoartist, who digitally illustrated the T. rex stamp images and Shawn Yancy, news anchor, WTTG-TV, the local Fox station, and the guest emcee.

The Tyrannosaurus Rex Forever stamps are available in panes of 16 stamps with four designs. Featuring lenticular printing, 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.

Scientist and paleoartist Julius T. Csotonyi created photorealistic illustrations of T. rex with depictions based on the growing body of research on these dinosaurs. Csotonyi painted digitally using a stylus on a computer screen, an approach he likens to acrylic painting. Art director Greg Breeding designed the pane.

The “Nation’s T. rex,” the young adult featured on two of the new stamps, was discovered in 1988 on federal land in Montana. 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.

Background

Extinct for some 66 million years, the carnivorous Tyrannosaurus rex dominated the Cretaceous period, which was the tail end of the dinosaur age.

With powerful jaws packed in its 4-foot-long skull and banana-sized teeth serrated like steak knives, T. rex easily bit through the flesh and hefty bones of even large dinosaur prey. Its full-grown weight was six to ten tons. Its maximum length was about 40 feet.

Although the name “Tyrannosaurus rex means “tyrant lizard king,” and “dinosaur” means “fearfully great lizard,” they were not lizards at all. Dinosaurs were from a separate reptile lineage, whose closest living relatives are birds and crocodilians.

News of the Tyrannosaurus Rex Forever stamps is being shared on social media using the hashtag #USPSTRexStamps. Followers of the Postal Service’s Facebook page can view a recording of the ceremony at facebook.com/USPS.

The Tyrannosaurus Rex stamps are being issued as Forever stamps. Forever stamps will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.

Customers may purchase stamps and other philatelic products through The Postal Store at usps.com/shop, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), by mail through USA Philatelic or at Post Office locations nationwide.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.


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