1997 32¢ Paleosaniwa
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
During the Triassic Period early reptiles began to appear. Able to successfully adapt to deserts, swamps, forests, grasslands, rivers, lakes, and even the seas, they continued to thrive through the Mesozoic Era.
Although dinosaurs dominated this prehistoric period, they shared their world with a variety of creatures, including a number of reptiles that still exist today. Like the Goniopholis and Opisthias, the Palaeosaniwa – a prehistoric relative of the Komodo dragon – changed remarkably little during that time.
Literally a “living fossil,” the Komodo dragon is found on the island of Komodo and other islands of Indonesia. The largest living lizard, it can grow to be more than 10 feet long, and when threatened will puff up its body in order to look larger. Extremely strong, Komodo dragons can overpower small deer, wild pigs, and even water buffaloes.
Scientists are still uncertain why several species of reptiles, including the Palaeosaniwa, survived when the great dinosaurs died out. Millions of years later however, the Komodo dragon teeters on the brink of extinction. Programs to control overhunting of the animals on which it preys are the only hope of survival for this ancient reptile.