British Antarctic Territory

Fossils and reconstructions of prehistoric animals and plants on stamps of British Antarctic Territory

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Contents:
The British Antarctic Territory (BAT) is a sector of Antarctica claimed by the United Kingdom as the largest of its 14 British Overseas Territories.
It comprises the region south of 60°S latitude and between longitudes 20°W and 80°W, forming a wedge shape that extends to the South Pole, overlapping the Antarctic claims of Argentina (Argentine Antarctica) and Chile (Chilean Antarctic Territory).

The Territory was formed on 3 March 1962, although the UK's claim to this portion of the Antarctic dates back to letters patent of 1908 and 1917.
The area now covered by the Territory includes three regions which, before 1962, were administered by the British as separate dependencies of the Falkland Islands: Graham Land, the South Orkney Islands, and the South Shetland Islands.

Since the Antarctic Treaty came into force in 1961, Article 4 of which states "The treaty does not recognize, dispute, nor establish territorial sovereignty claims; no new claims shall be asserted while the treaty is in force", most countries do not recognize territorial claims in Antarctica. The United Kingdom has ratified the treaty. In 2012, the southern part of the territory was named Queen Elizabeth Land in honour of Queen Elizabeth II. The territory is inhabited by the staff of research and support stations operated and maintained by the British Antarctic Survey and other organizations, and stations of Argentina, Chile and other countries. There are no native inhabitants. [R1]
Example of postmark for FDC cover Example of postmark for FDC cover
The first stamps of British Antarctic Territory were issued in 1963, a definitive set of 15 values, shows a portrait of Queen Elizabeth and various scenes of human activity in Antarctica. Since then, 10-20 stamps are issued every year in several sets, with a full definitive series every few years. [R2]
British Antarctica is unusual in that it does not design commemorative postmarks for use on its FDCs. The FDC postmarks look like the regular postmarks, but have the text “FIRST DAY OF ISSUE” underneath the date.
The Falkland Islands Philatelic Bureau acts as the sales agent for the British Antarctic Territory. All official First Day Covers are cancelled at the relevant base in the Territory, before being returned to the Philatelic Bureau at Port Stanley for distribution. The Antarctic Postman, based at Port Stanley, visits BAT bases by ship to officially release new stamps and the stamps are not otherwise available for sale until this has happened. The date of the visit is recorded and the stamps are then released at the Falkland Islands Philatelic Bureau, at Port Lockroy for tourists, and elsewhere. [R2]



Official stamps of British Antarctic Territory related to Paleontology: dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, fossils.

08.03.1982 "Continental Drift" 02.04.1990 "Marine Fossils" 27.03.1991 "Fossils"
Prehistoric animals and plants on continental drift stamps of British Antarctic Territory 1982 Prehistoric animals and plants on definitive stamps of British Antarctic Territory 1990 Prehistoric animals, plants and their fossils stamps of British Antarctic Territory 1991
17.11.2008"Fossil Ferns"
Prehistoric plants and their fossils stamps of British Antarctic Territory 2008



Other stamps of British Antarctic Territory to consider: contributors to Paleontology.

19.03.1987 "75 years since first expedition of Robert Falcon Scott to Antarctic" 17.11.2008 "Polar explorers and their ships"
Robert Falcon Scott stamps of British Antarctic Territory 1987 Robert Falcon Scott among other explorers on stamps of British Antarctic Territory 2008

Notes:
Robert Falcon Scott   on stamp of British Antarctic Territory 1987 Robert Falcon Scott  on stamp of British Antarctic Territory 2008
Robert Falcon Scott on stamp of British Antarctic Territory 1987 MiNr.: 140, Scott: 137 Robert Falcon Scott on stamp of British Antarctic Territory 2008 MiNr.: 465, Scott:
[A1] Robert Falcon Scott CVO (6 June 1868 – 29 March 1912) was a Royal Navy officer and explorer who led two expeditions to the Antarctic regions: the Discovery expedition of 1901–1904 and the ill-fated Terra Nova expedition of 1910–1912.

Scott and his companions died on the second expedition. When Scott and his party's bodies were discovered, 16kg of Glossopteris (an extinct beech-like tree from 250 million years ago) fossils from the Queen Maud Mountains found next to their bodies, which they had dragged on hand sledges.
These fossils were promised to Marie Stopes (shown on UK stamp in 2008) to provide evidence for Eduard Suess's idea that Antarctica had once been part of an ancient super-continent named Gondwanaland (now Gondwana).
More details are here.



References:
  •   [R1] British Antarctic Territory (BAT): Wikipedia, FlagCounter.
  •   [R2] Postal History and Philately of British Antarctic Territory (BAT): Wikipedia,
              Links to official website of the Post Authority, stamp catalog and a list of new stamps of British Antarctic Territory are here.


Acknowledgements:
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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