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Greenland 2009 "Fossils in Greenland" part 2

Issue Date  19.01.2009
ID Michel:  529-531 Scott:  Stanley Gibbons:  Yvert:   UPU:  GL005.09  Category: pF
Author Artist and engraver: Martin Mrck
Stamps in set 3
Value DKK 2.00  Schizoneura carcinoides
DKK 11.50 - Scaphites rosenkrantzi
DKK 22.00 Mallotus villosus
Size (width x height) 39.52 x 28.84 mm
Layout 40 stamps in sheet
Products FDC x3
Paper TR4
Perforation 13.25
Print Technique Combination
Printed by POST Danmark
Issuing Authority POST Greenland


"This is the second and fnal part of Post Green-lands  series  about  fossils  in  Greenland  and consists of three stamps demonstrating aspects of  the extensive  and  exciting  fossil  record  of Greenland.  The  second  group  of  images  continues  our  journey  through  some  of  the  key events in the history of life on our planet, beautifully  illustrated  by  yet  more  unique  fossils. These three fossils, a plant, an invertebrate and a vertebrate, are from the younger part of the fossil record, ranging from about 200 million to just some 8,000 years ago.


 Schizoneura carcinoides One of  the fve  big mass extinction events occur-red  some  200  million  years  ago  at  the  boundary between the Triassic and Jurassic geological systems. Beautifully-preserved plant fossils have been known for many  years  from  Jameson  Land  in  East Greenland derived  from ancient  forests  that  survived  this extinction event.  The horsetail Schizoneura carcinoides, with its distinctive spiky leaves, grew in marshes and if present in suffcient numbers could generate coal.  In East Greenland  these plants were common near Scoresby Sound and were frst described over 70 years ago. Now they are helping scientists assess climate change during the mass extinction event.

Mallotus villosus Mallotus villosus or the capelin is a small smelly fsh, common  today  in  the Arctic seas, prized  for  its  roe but also as a base for fsh meal.  The capelin, however,  is also  found as  fossils  in  the Quaternary  sediments of West Greenland, some nearly 8,000 years old, appearing  identical  to  its  living  relatives. These fossils were brought to the attention of scientists in Europe more  than 200  years ago by whalers, who probably collected  them  from  localities  such as  the head of Sndre Strmfjord, where they are still common today.



 Scaphites rosenkrantzi  The end of the Cretaceous extinction period, 65 mil-lion years ago, is better known since it is linked to a massive  environmental  catastrophe  associated with the  impact  of  a  giant  asteroid  and major  volcanic eruptions. During this period the dinosaurs and various types of giant marine reptiles, such as the mosasaurs and plesiosaurs, disappeared from Earth for ever.


 Another fossil group, the ammonites, similar to modern  nautilus,  became  almost  extinct with  possibly  only  a  couple  of  stragglers  surviving  into  the Tertiary. During  the  later Cretaceous,  however,  the ammonites began to develop some fascinating and unusual  shell  shapes.  Scaphites  rosenkrantzi  from the Cretaceous  rocks  of Nussuaq, West Greenland is a  spectacular example, where  the  coiled  shell of the animal has started to unravel. Despite its strange shape it could undoubtedly maintain its buoyancy in the water and probably swam quite fast."  David Harper and Bent Lindow


About the authors

David Harper is Professor of Palaeontology, University of Copenhagen and is in charge of the palaeontological collections in the Geology Department, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen. He is also head of the Geology Research Group at the museum. His research is feld and specimen-based, focused on the Lower Paleozoic rocks and fossils of Greenland, Scandinavia, the British Isles and China. He is currently Chair of the Publications Board (Palaeontological Association), President of the International Palaeontological Association and Chairman of the International Sub commission on the Ordovician System.


Bent Lindow is a palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum of Denmark (University of Copenhagen). He studies the evolution of birds and how it was infuenced by prehistoric climate change. Bent has given numerous lectures and participated in radio- and TV-interviews on palaeontology and the evolution of life in Denmark and abroad.


Related:  Greenland 2008 "Fossils in Greenland" part 1






Reference: Greenland Collector vol. 14, No 1, April 2009


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