Croatia 1997 "Paleontological Finds in Croatia"

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Issue Date 06.11.1997
ID Michel: 436-437, Scott: 346-347, Stanley Gibbons: 514-515, Yvert et Tellier: 411-412, Category: pR
Design Painter: Zlatko Keser, Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb
Stamps in set 2
Value 1.40 - Prehistoric Elephant (Gomphotherium angustidents)
2.40 - Novska Water Snail (Viviparus novskaensis)
Emission/Type commemorative
Places of issue Zagreb
Size (width x height) 29,82mm x 35,5mm
Layout Sheet of 20 stamps
Products FDC x1
Paper white 102g, gummed
Perforation 14
Print Technique Multicolor offset
Printed by Agencija Za Komercijalnu Djelatnost
Quantity 350.000 sets
Issuing Authority Croatian Post and Telecommunications

On November 6th 1997, Croatian Post and Telecommunications issued the set of two stamps "Paleontological Finds in Croatia".

The following is translation of a text, published by Croatian Post in 1997.

Prehistoric elephant Gomphotherium angustidents on stamp of Croatia 1997
Prehistoric elephant Gomphotherium angustidents on stamp of Croatia 1997, MiNr.: 436, Scott: 346.

In the mine of bentonites, ancient sediments of volcanic ash, in the marshes of prehistoric times from the Pannonian territories, miners have recently found, from the year 1994 to 1996, singular bones of large mammals.
Paleontologists have identified these exceptional fossils and they have attributed them to the remains of the fossils of the species from long-extinct elephants, to present-day suborder Proboscideans, to the species Prodeinotherium bavarieum (H.v.MEYER) and Gomphotherium angustidens (CUVIER).
The remains of these elephants (many teeth, tusks, parts of skull and skeleton), come from the subsurface below the village of Gornja Jelenska, near the village of Popovaca in the Moslavina region.
Their age, defined for the moment using geological and paleontological tests, is 18 million years old. This was the Lower Miocene age when the territories of today's northern Croatia were covered with vast woods, meadows and marshes with tropical or intertropical vegetation.
The first prehistoric elephants appeared on African territory 40 million years ago. The continents, the vast dry lands, the old floating southern continents, joined the territory of today's Europe and Asia at the Arabian Peninsula, so that the old African elephants left their country to settle on the northern continents.
The prehistoric elephants found in Moslavina, belonged to the group of large mammals the oldest in Europe and Asia and they are certainly the most valuable paleontological find in Croatia.

M.Sc. Jakov Hadovöic, museum advisor Geological-paleontological division of the Croatian Natural History Museum.

Fossil of Viviparus novskaensis on stamp of Croatia 1997
Fossil of Viviparus novskaensis on stamp of Croatia 1997, MiNr.: 437, Scott: 347,

Viviparus (old name Paludina) is a species of freshwater snail that dates back to the Chalk Era (100 million years ago). They were most prevalent during the Pliocene era (5 to 2 million years ago), the time when they inhabited the vast but shallow freshwater lakes, which remained as a result of the drying up and softening of the "Sea Pannonian".
Today they live in some rivers and lakes of Europe and their Croatian name is ogre.
The species of Viviparus is important because the Viennese paleontologist M.NEUMAYR published, in 1875, his work on the evolution of this species. With the Viennese geologist C.M.PAUL he studied the paludal (marsh) deposits of Slavonia. During his research he noticed that the shapes were linked together and he could only with difficulty isolate the different species. The reason was: the shells changed over the years, so that one species became another. Thus in the oldest marsh lower layers, lived species with smooth shells (such as V. neumayn), while in the more recent marsh upper strata were found the variously ornamented species, with rounded spiral shells with small nodes (such as V.hoemesi and V.stun).
This is how NEUMAYR defines the evolutionary or phylogenetic series of the species Viviparus, known in world paleontology. In the years to come (in 1886), this evolutionary series was developed and completed by K.A.PENECKE, who had described a new species V.novskaensis.
Viviparus novskaensis (novljanski ogre) is an extinct fossil species that we most often encounter in the layers of marsh around the town of Novska. Its name, this species owes it to the paleontologist K.A.PENECKE who described it in 1886. The description was: "A conical oval shell, with thick walls, made of 5 envelopes, the last of which comprises almost 2/3 of the height of the shell. The envelopes are placed gradually and each has two edges which end in irregular nodes... "
This same author gave the name of Novska, to a species of the fossil lamellibranchs of the malaria layers, Unia novskaensis. The German paleontologist W.Wenz gave the name Novska to a suborder of freshwater snails such Melanopsis constricta novskaensis.
Few are the localities which have given their name to three taxa, as is Novska's case. This fact shows us that a rather specific form was developed in Novska and its surroundings and that this form was distinguished by its particularity in the whole of the fauna of Slavonia in the so rich era of the Pliocene.

M.Sc. Zlata .Juriéic-Polsak, museum adviser Geological-paleontological division of the Croatian Natural History Museum.

Products and associated philatelic items

FDC First-Day-of-Issue Postmark First Day Sheet
Prehistoric animals and their fossils on FDC of Croatia 1997 Viviparus novskaensis on postmark of Croatia 1997 First Day Sheet of Paleontological Finds in Croatia 1997
Deinotherium shown on the cachet of the FDC The inside text is Commemorative Panel (in Croatian and French)
Example of circulated covers
Viviparus novskaensis on commemorative cover of Croatia 1997 Paleontological Finds in Croatia stamps on commemorative cover of Croatia 1998 Gomphotgerium angustidents stamps on commemorative cover of Croatia 1998 on Facebook - Welcome to join !
  • Technical details and short description of the stamps:
    Croatian Post (the article isn't available anymore), Colnect, stampedout, the inside text of here (in Croatian and French).

Many thanks to Dr. Peter Voice, PhD Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Western Michigan University, USA, for review of a draft of this article.

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