1997 32¢ Camarasaurus
Issue Date: May 1, 1997
City: Grand Junction, CO
Printed By: Sterling Sommers for Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: 11 x 11.1
The World of Dinosaurs sheet depicts two scenes - one from Colorado during the Jurassic period (about 150 million years ago) and one from Montana during the Cretaceous period (approximately 75 million years ago.)
Camarasaurus (kam-uh-ruh-sawr-us) was an early ancestor of the giant herbivore Apatosaurus (Brontosaurus). He was the first of the larger, more massive dinosaurs, attaining a maximum length of 23 feet. He was bigger because he had a new and improved bone structure.
His predecessors had solid, dense bones, but the bones of Camarasaurus were hollow and infinitely lighter. Boney spikes along the top of his backbone anchored his powerful back muscles, while sturdy six-foot-long ribs stabilized his backbone and protected his internal organs. Thick legs and elephant-like feet placed squarely beneath his massive belly and huge frame supported his weight like pillars supporting a heavy roof.
The bones of his long neck and tail were special too. These “chevron” or Y-shaped bones, which were jointed for flexibility, hung on the underside of his neck and tailbones, firmly anchoring the bone and tissue together. Powerful muscles offered additional support.
Though large, Camarasaurus had a small, snub-nosed skull and nostrils high on his head between his eyes. Survival was chiefly a matter of shoveling the plentiful land and water plants down with his spoon-like teeth.