1997 32¢ Goniopholis
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.)
Fifty-foot crocodiles with jaws six feet long have never been seen, but fossilized bones from these massive creatures have been found. Goniopholis lived during the time of the great dinosaurs, and except for its size, was probably much like the crocodiles of today.
Ancestors of the Goniopholis first appeared during the late Triassic Period, and since that time this semi-aquatic predator has changed very little. The long, low-bodied reptile was equipped with a powerful tail for swimming. Horny plates protected the rough skin on its back, while leathery scales covered his legs and belly.
Like modern-day crocodiles, its eyes were specially positioned on top of the skull, with the nostrils similarly located on the tip of the snout. Both features allowed Goniopholis to move stealthily through the water almost completely submerged. Perhaps its most distinguishing characteristic was its huge jaws, which rivaled those of the fierce Tyrannosaurus.
Modern types of crocodiles, closely resembling the Florida crocodile of today, appeared toward the end of the late Jurassic Period. For reasons unknown, these prehistoric reptiles survived extinction. And although the dinosaurs vanished, the crocodiles remained.