"Fossils of Nepal"
||Design: Purna Kala Limbu
Ramesh Shrestha, Chief, Natural History Museum, Nepal
|Stamps in set
||Rs. 50.00 - Giraffa punjabiensis
Rs. 50.00 - Archidiskidon planifrons (Extinct
Rs. 50.00 - Ramapithecus sivalensis (Extinct Primate)
Rs. 50.00 - Hexaprotodon sivalensis(Extinct
|Size (width x height)
||42.5 x 31.5 mm
||40 stamps per sheet
||FDC x 1
||Security Stamp paper UV dull
& invisible fibers & phosphorescent dots.
His Majesty's Government of Nepal Postal Services Department
On December 31, 2013 Post Authority of Nepal issued a set of 4 stamps
(actually these stamps are declared on this day, but arrived
post office of Nepal much later, in Spring 2014, even though FDC is
canceled with post mark dated 31.12.2013 )
shows some fossils and reconstructions of prehistoric animals who
leaved on a territory of the country in the past. Fossils of these
animals found in various areas of Nepal and are in collection of
Museum (NHM). Dr.
Ramesh Shrestha, Chief, Natural History Museum, Nepal worked
closely with stamp designer and Nepal's post authority to create this
stamps. Theis is the first time, collection of NHM is appears on stamps.
Natural history museum of Nepal is situated on the lap of
Swayambhu stupa, a world heritage site in the west hillock of Kathmandu
valley. Swayambhu hillock is itself a famous place not only in the
context of the culture, religion and history of Kathmandu valley, but
also equally famous place for the early plant hunters in Nepal.
The mission of the Natural History Museum, Tribhuvan
University is to
inspire natural science research of national/international
significance; to serve a research and educational facilities with
timely environmental information relating natural history to
present-day environmental and cultural issues for both Nepali and
foreign researchers; to connect the Nepali people with their own
country's natural history, and to deliver an urgent message that the
Nepalese themselves are trustees of this fragile natural heritage; to
promote understanding of the evolution and diversity of flora and fauna
of Nepal. The museum was established in 1975. Since then the
museum has collected 50,000 specimens of Nepal’s modern and prehistoric
flora and fauna. The museum also some relics from the
country's prehistoric times. There is a fossilized skull of the Archidiskodon
a species of elephant that roamed the Sivalik Hills Sivalik Hills
Another ancient specimen is the molar teeth of Sivapithecus
, a hominoid
The skull and the
teeth are believed to be around 3 million years and 8-10 million years
old respectively. Fossils of all animals are depicted on stamps bellow
are from collection of the museum.
(Extinct Giraffe): The genus of Graffids evolved
from a group of even toed ungulates in the early Miocene almost 25
million years ago. The extinct Giraffa punjsbiensis inhabited large
parts of Eurasia including the ancient land of Nepal and eventually
spread into Africa. Fossil records indicate many other giraffids
thrived between the Miocene era (around 20 million years ago) and the
They formed part of a relatively late mammal
diversification that also produced cattle, antelopes, and deer
following a climate change that transformed subtropical woodlands into
open savannah grasslands. The descendents of the Giraffa punjsbiensis
species form parts of a relatively late mammal diversification that
also produced cattle, antelopes, and deer following a climate change
that transformed subtropical woodlands into open ruminant artiodactyls
mammals that share a common ancestor with deer and bovid. The
biological family, once a diverse group spread throughout Eurasia and
Africa, contains only two living members, the giraffe and the okapi.
molar teeth of this extinct Giraffe were found on the banks of Surai
khola in Nepal. The present stamp shows the image of Giraffa
punjsbiensis and the its molar teeth.
(Extinct Elephant); Archidiskidon planifrons
is a type of a genus Stegodon of the extinct subfamily Stegodontinae of
the order Proboscidea. While tracing the biogeography of these animals
they were found to live in large parts of Asia during the Pleistocene,
Pliocene and the Holocene epochs.
Interestingly, these animals
were also found in the then ancient lands of present day Nepal. Like
their modern relatives, Archidiskidon were quite large. The largest
known species reached height in the region of 4m. at the shoulder and
weighed up to 8 tones, while exceptionally large males may have
exceeded 12 tones. However, most species of Archidiskidon were only
about as large as a modern Asia elephant (which are about 2.5m to 3m
high at the shoulder). Both sexes of Archidiskidon bore tusks. A
definitive explanation for their extinction has yet to be agreed upon.
The warming trend (Holocene) that occurred 12,000 years ago could have
contributed to their process of extinction. Many forests replaced open
woodlands and grasslands also, which contributed in the reduction of
their habitats. Many fossilized body parts of these elephants
were recorded from
different parts of our country. There is a fossilized skull of the
Archidiskidon (3 million years) found on the banks of Rato Khola in the
collection of Natural History Museum. The present stamp shows the image
of Archidiskidon planifrons and the completed skull with its tusks.
(Extinct Primate): Ramapithecus sivalensis
(Synonym= Sivapithecus punjsbiensis) is a species of an extinct
primate. Fossil remains of this animal, dated from 12.5 million to 8.5
million years old in the Miocene, have been found in the Siwalik Hills
of Nepal and other adjoining areas. The molar teeth of the ancient
hominoid, Ramapithecus (around 9.0 – 9.5 million years old), was
discovered in Tinau Khola on way to Tansen from Butawal in 1932 by G.
Edward Lewis. The finding has been a great landmark to know about the
distribution of Late Miocene hominoids in south Asia.
time it was claimed that the jaw was more like a human jaw.
Ramapithecus was understood to have direct ancestral roots to modern
humans. Meanwhile, more complete specimens of Ramapithecus were found
in 1975 and 1976, which showed that it was less human-like than had
been thought before. It began to look more and more like better
Sivapithecus instead of Ramapithecus. The analysis of the original
Ramapithecus fossils had errors directing them as ancestors of modern
humans. In 1982, David Pilbeam published a description of a significant
fossil find if a large part of the face and jaw of Sivapithecus. This
specimen bore many similarities to the Orang-utan skull and with the
help of more modern tools, it strengthened the theory of Sivapithecus
(Ramapithecus) being closely related to Orang-utan than human beings.
it is believed that the fossils attributed to Ramapithecus actually
represent the slightly smaller females of Sivapithecus. So, neither
Ramapithecus nor Sivapithecus was direct Homo sapiens (present day
human beings) ancestor. The present stamp shows the image of
Ramapithecus sivalensis and the molar its teeth .
(Extinct Hippopotamus): Hexaprotodon sivalensis
is an extinct hippopotamus species. It lived during the Pliocene and
the Pleistocene (5.33 to 0.11 million years ago). Fossils of this
species have been found in Indonesia, India, Sir Lanka, and Nepal. It
was obviously a very widely distributed creature.
The height of
Hexaprotodon is estimated to have been about 75 cm. it is thought to
have weight around 180 kg. The size of Hexaprotodon was comparable to
that of the living pygmy hippopotamus of Madagascar. There are few
species of Hippos that have become extinct over time. It is believed
that they were around until about 1,000 years ago. The overall size of
them was smaller than the Hippos we are familiar with today. It is
believed that they were smaller as a way of surviving in their
The European Hippo is also extinct but it was once
found throughout Europe as well as the British Isles. It is believed
that they became extinct before the last glaciations period. These
Hippos were much larger than those we know about today. In Nepal the
fossils of Hexaprotodon sivalensis have been discovered at Gidniya
Village and Rato Khola in Nepal.
The skull and lower jaw of this
extinct hippopotamus is one of the appealing items in the collection of
Natural History Museum. The present stamp shows the image of
Hexaprotodon sivalensis and the complete skull and lower jaws.
Many thanks to Mr. Shankar
Mr. Dr. Ramesh
Shrestha for their support.
Natural History Museum of
Nepal The Katmandu
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