Namibia 1995 "Fossils"
|ID||Michel: 789-792, Bl. 22 Scott: Stanley Gibbons: Yvert: UPU: N/A Category: pF|
|Stamps in set||5 (4 + Block)|
Geochelone stromeri, |
80 c., Diamantornis wardi (eggs),
90 c., Prohyrax hendeyi (skull),
1.20 N$., Crocodylus lloydi (skull),
Block, 80 c., Diamantornis wardi
|Size (width x height)|
|Perforation||13.75 x 14.25|
In the Lower Miocene period 19 to 20 million years ago, the coastal region of southern Namibia was inhabited by giant tortoises, first described in 1926 as Geochelone stromeri. In 1992, the first complete carapaces of this species were found during diamond mining operations at Auchas in the Orange River valley 50 kilometres upstream from Oranjemund. The tortoises are associated with fossil mammals and plants that indicate that the area enjoyed a subtropical climate at the
time that they lived, in stark contrast to the extremely arid conditions that prevail there today. The specimen depicted on the stamp is almost half a metre long and 25 centimetres high, an is thus much larger than any tortoise living in southern Namibia today.
Fossilised eggsehll fragments have been known to occur in the Sperrgebiet (forbidden territory) for many years, but it was only in 1992 that the first complete eggs were foun y the Namibia Palaeontology Expedition at Ftooilepel. At this site 30 kilometres north of Auchas Mine is an extensive cliff of hardened sand dunes 120 metres thick which contain abundant fossil mammals as well as eggshells dating from about 16 to 17 million years ago. The eggs of Diamantornis wardi (Wards
Diamod Bird) are one and a half times as voluminous as those of the living ostrich (1,8 liters as opposed to 1,2 litres) and the shell is much thicker (3 to 4 millimetres verus 1,2 millimetres), suggesting that the birds that laid them were appreciably larger than the living ostrich.
At Arrisdrift, 35 kilometres upstream from Oranjemund, numerous fossils were found in an abandoned channel of the Orange River during diamond prospecting activities. The commonest mammals found at the site, dating from 17,5 million years ago, were large dassies (hyraxes) the size of Dorper sheep. In 1976, a particularly finely preserved skull was found and this formed the basis for the reconstruction depicted on the stamp. These dassies probably lived in herds along the floodplain of the proto-Orange River, much as the springbok today. At that time, the environment in the Orange River valley would have been considerably more luxuriant than it is today. Apart from dassies, Arrisdrift has yielded many other species of mammals ranging in size from mice to elephants.
N$1,20 Crocodylus lloydi
References : inside text of the FDC
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Latest update 13.03.2013
Any feedback, comments or even complaints are welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org (you can email me on ENglish, DEutsch, or RUssian)