Fossils and dinosaurs on stamps of Somalia

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Somalia, officially the Federal Republic of Somalia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Somalia has the longest coastline on Africa's mainland, and its terrain consists mainly of plateaus, plains and highlands. Somalia has an estimated population of around 12.3 million. The official languages of Somalia are Somali and Arabic, both of which belong to the Afroasiatic family.
From the late 1800s to 1960, northwestern present-day Somalia was administered as British Somaliland, while the northeastern, central and southern part of the country were concurrently administered as Italian Somaliland.
Britain withdrew from British Somaliland in 1960 to allow its protectorate to join with Italian Somaliland and form the new nation of Somalia.

The Supreme Revolutionary Council seized power in 1969 and established the Somali Democratic Republic. The SRC subsequently collapsed 22 years later, in 1991, with the onset of the Somali Civil War and Somaliland soon declared independence.
Various armed factions began competing for influence in the power vacuum, particularly in the south. During this period, due to the absence of a central government, Somalia was a "failed state", and residents returned to customary and religious law in most regions.
A few autonomous regions, including the Somaliland, Puntland, and Galmudug administrations, emerged in the north. The early 2000s saw the creation of fledgling interim federal administrations.

In 2011–2012, a political process providing benchmarks for the establishment of permanent democratic institutions was launched.
Within this administrative framework a new provisional constitution was passed in August 2012, which reformed Somalia as a federation. [R1]

The first stamps of Somalia were issued for Benadir by the Italian authorities in 1903.
Following the establishment of the Somali Republic, the first stamps of the nascent country were issued on 26 June 1960.
Illegal stamps of Somalia 1997 Illegal stamps of Somalia 1999
Illegal stamps of Somali Republic (1997 and 1999), issued during the civil war.

After the 1969 military coup, the country and its stamps were renamed the Somali Democratic Republic.
During civil (1991-2000) war the national postal infrastructure was completely destroyed. It wasn’t until 2013 that Somalia’s Postal Service resumed operations.

Postage stamps continued to be produced by Italian IPZS company during the war, although their subject matter suggests they were designed for external collectors. These stamps probably never even sent to the country for use. [R2]

Official stamps of Somalia related to Paleontology: fossils and reconstruction of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals

24.11.1987 "GEOSOM'87 - Geology of Somalia and surround regions" [1]
Sauropod dinosaur on stamp of Somalia 1987
The following stamps were issued during the civil war and probably were never used for postage.
They are listed in Michel and Yvert & Tellier, but not listed in Scott and Stanley Gibbons.
06.10.1993 "Prehistoric animals" 02.05.1997 "Fossils" 12.12.2000 "Marine Dinosaurs" [2]
Dinosaurs on stamp of Somalia 1993 Fossils on stamp of Somalia 1997 Marine reptile on stamp of Somalia 2000

Sauropod dinosaur on stamp of Somalia 1987
Sauropod dinosaur depicted on the buttom-left corner of the block.
[1] A sauropod dinosaur is depicted on the bottom-left corner of the block.
Even though there are Jurassic- and Cretaceous-aged rocks in Somalia[R3], no fossils of dinosaurs have been uncovered in the country to date.
Most Jurassic and Cretaceous deposits in Somalia are marine in origin, therefore dinosaurs are unlikely to be found in these rocks unless their bodies were swept out to sea.

[2] These stamps were issued during the civil war and probably were never used for postage.
They are listed in Michel and Yvert & Tellier, but not listed in Scott and Stanley Gibbons.
On 31 October 2013, UPU informed international mail community:
"After 23 years without postal services, Somalia will start receiving international mail again from 1 November 2013, thanks to an agreement concluded with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its postal operator, Emirates Post.
The Universal Postal Union has informed the Posts of its member countries they can now send international mail to Somalia through Dubai.
" [R2]

[3] "Marine Dinosaurs" is an incorrect name. Dinosaurs per definition are terrestrial animals only. Correct name of the set should be "Prehistoric marine reptiles" or "Prehistoric marine animals".


Many thanks to Dr. Peter Voice from Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Western Michigan University, for the draft page review and his very valuable comments.

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