Dinosaurs were primeval vertebrates which appeared on earth as early as 220 million years ago and became extinct about 66 million years back. There are diverse views on the cause for their extinction, and this remains an unsolved mystery of palaeontology. At present, China has over 170 recorded dinosaur species. Hongkong Post issues a set of six special stamps on "Chinese Dinosaurs" which introduces six unique Chinese dinosaur species, with a view to enhancing the public's understanding of Chinese dinosaurs.
$1.70 – Daxiatitan binglingi
Daxiatitan binglingi was a gigantic herbivorous sauropod dinosaur in the Early Cretaceous period (around 130 million years ago). Its fossils were discovered in the Lanzhou Basin in Gansu Province. Its name comes from the famous Bingling Temple near the origin of the fossils and the Daxia River, a branch of the Yellow River, which runs through the excavation site. With a total length of some 30 meters and a neck around 12.5 meters long, Daxiatitan binglingi lived in forests along the riverbank and fed mainly on tree leaves. It is one of the largest dinosaurs discovered in Asia.
$2.20 – Microraptor gui
Microraptor gui, a carnivorous dromaeosaurid dinosaur in the Early Cretaceous period (around 120 million years ago), was the most well-known kind of feathered dinosaurs. Its fossils were unearthed in western Liaoning Province. The species was named after the famous palaeontologist Gu Zhiwei. Microraptor gui was about 1 meter long with a massive tail more than half of its body length. It lived mostly in woods, and had the ability to glide between trees. A batch of feathered dinosaur fossils, discovered in Liaoning Province in 2000 by researchers of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, provides evidence to support the theory that birds are descended from dinosaurs.
$2.90 – Lufengosaurus magnus
Lufengosaurus magnus was a herbivorous presauropod dinosaur that lived in the Early Jurassic period (around 180 million years ago). It was named after Lufeng County in Yunnan Province where the fossil was first discovered. About 6 to 7 meters long, its strong and powerful hind limbs enabled it to walk on two limbs, while its big tail helped to balance its body. Mostly living on the lakefront and swamp shores, Lufengosaurus consumed mainly the new growth of thick foliage. The first colossal fossil of Lufengosaurus was unearthed in China in 1938.
$3.10 – Tuojiangosaurus multispinus
Tuojiangosaurus multispinus was a herbivorous stegosaurid dinosaur from the Late Jurassic period (around 150 million years ago). Its fossil was discovered near River Tuo, Sichuan Province, from which the species gained its name. Tuojiangosaurus was 7 to 8 metres long, with a triangular head, two rows of upward spiked plates running down over its neck, spine and tail, and two pairs of outward pointing spikes at the end of its tail. Mainly living in forests, the species fed predominantly on low vegetation. The fossil of Tuojiangosaurus is the first well-preserved stegosaurus skeleton ever discovered in Asia on record.
$3.70 – Protoceratops andrewsi
Protoceratops andrewsi was a herbivorous ceratopsian dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous period (around 75 million years ago). Its fossil was unearthed in the Gobi Desert, Inner Mongolia and it was named after the expedition leader, palaeontologist Roy Chapman Andrews. Protoceratops was about 2 to 3 metres long, with a slightly protruding nasal bone, a parrot-like beak, and a huge bony frill behind the skull that protected its neck and back. It usually lived in dense woods and fed on low-lying, ground vegetation. Extremely rich in remains of Protoceratops, China is one of the important excavation sites of Protoceratops fossils.
$5 – Yangchuanosaurus shangyouensis
Yangchuanosaurus shangyouensis was an enormous carnivorous theropod dinosaur from the Late Jurassic period (around 150 million years ago). It was named after the excavation of the first fossil during the construction of a reservoir in Yongchuan, Chongqing. It was about 8 to 10 meters long, with sharp teeth and nimble forelimbs ending with three large and razor-sharp claws. Adept at living in hillocks and woods, it mainly preyed on small animals. The skeleton discovered in 1976 is the most intact fossil of a sizable theropod ever found in China.
This set of six special stamps on "Chinese Dinosaurs" is printed with a luminous effect that makes the unique features of the Chinese dinosaurs glow in the dark. Set against the environment where dinosaurs lived in prehistoric times, the souvenir sheet in a block stamp design showcases dinosaurs from different periods.