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Morocco 2015 "Rocks and Fossils of Morocco"

Issue Date 09.10.20015
ID Michel: Scott: Stanley Gibbons: Yvert: UPU: MA012.15 Category: pF
Stamps in set 4
Value 3.75 - Stromatolite
3.75 - Marrellomorph
9.00 - Aegirocassis
9.00 - Tissint_meteorite
Size (width x height) 40mm x 30mm ; 30mm x 40mm
Layout Sheets of 25 stamps
Products FDC x1
Perforation 13 x 13
Print Technique Offset
Printed by philaposte France
Quantity N/A
Issuing Authority Barid Al-Maghrib
fossils and meteorit on stamps of Morocco 2015

On the occasion of the international conference "RALI 2015- The Rise of Animal Life", which took place in Marrakesh between October 5 and October 10 2015, organized under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohamed VI, the Cadi Ayyad University, under the themes of the Cambrian Explosion and Great biodiversification Cambrian and the Promotion of the Geological Heritage, Barid Al-Maghrib ,Post Authority of Morocco issued a set of 4 stamps "Rocks and Fossils of Morocco" on October 9, 2015
The formal theme of the meeting are devoted to ‘Cambrian and Ordovician radiations’. In conjunction with the conference, a special symposium dedicated to aspects of Geological Heritage was held and highlight associated educational, cultural and socio-economic issues. The scientific sessions are followed by a field trip as a ‘Geotraverse of Central High Atlas and Anti- Atlas’. This field trip offered participants the opportunity to visit fossil localities near Zagora, where the Fezouata Biota is currently being studied by an international team of scientists. In the Ternata plain (N. of Zagora), the Lower Ordovician succession (Fezouata Shale and Zini Sandstones) lies unconformably over the middle Cambrian Tabanite Group. The Fezouata Shale corresponds to a thick monotonous series (1000 m) of siltstones deposited under shallow offshore conditions (storm-wave influence). The Fezouata Biota provides a unique insight into one of the most critical periods in the evolution of marine life: the Cambrian-Ordovician transition.

The following fossils and mineral are depicting on stamps:
Stromatolite on stamp of Morocco 2015 Stromatolites or stromatoliths are layered bio-chemical accretionary structures formed in shallow water by the trapping, binding and cementation of sedimentary grains by biofilms (microbial mats) of microorganisms, especially cyanobacteria. Fossilized stromatolites provide ancient records of life on Earth by these remains, which might date from more than 3.5 billion years. Lichen stromatolites are a proposed mechanism of formation of some kinds of layered rock structure that is formed above water, where rock meets air, by repeated colonization of the rock by endolithic lichens.
A variety of stromatolite morphologies exists, including conical, stratiform, branching, domal, and columnar types. Stromatolites occur widely in the fossil record of the Precambrian, but are rare today. Very few ancient stromatolites contain fossilized microbes. While features of some stromatolites are suggestive of biological activity, others possess features that are more consistent with abiotic (non-biological) precipitation. Finding reliable ways to distinguish between biologically formed and abiotic stromatolites is an active area of research in geology.
There are only two more stamps and one commemorative with Stromatolite issued today: definitive set of Angola 1970 (face value 3#00), Canada 1990 (green stamp), India 2015

Marrellomorph on stamp of Morocco 2015 The stamp shows Marrellomorph arthropod from Zagora region of Morocco, discovered by Mohamed Benmoulai, local collector and it is the first time when fossilized soft tissue of the specie is found which is very rare for arthropods.
Marrella Marrella itself is a small animal, 2 cm or less in length. The head shield has two pairs of long rearward spikes. On the underside of the head are two pairs of antennae, one long and sweeping, the second shorter and stouter. Marrella has a body composed of 24–26 body segments, each with a pair of branched appendages. The lower branch of each appendage is a leg for walking, while the upper branch is a long, feathery gill. There is a tiny, button-like telson at the end of the thorax. It is unclear how the unmineralized head and spines were stiffened. Marrella has too many antennae, too few cephalic legs, and too few segments per leg to be a trilobite. It lacks the three pairs of legs behind the mouth that are characteristic of crustacea. The legs are also quite different from those of crustaceans. The identification of a diffraction grating pattern on well-preserved Marrella specimens proves that it would have harboured an iridescent sheen—and thus would have appeared colourful. Dark stains are often present at the posterior regions of specimens, probably representing extruded waste matter.

Aegirocassis on stamp of Morocco 2015 On March 12 2015, Sci Tech Daily website reports about newly discovered fossils of an extinct sea creature named Aegirocassis benmoulae provide key evidence about the early evolution of arthropods.
The new animal, named Aegirocassis benmoulae in honor of its discoverer, Mohamed Ben Moula, attained a size of at least 2 meters, ranking it among the biggest arthropods that ever lived. Aegirocassis size compare
It was found in southeastern Morocco and dates back some 480 million years.
“Aegirocassis is a truly remarkable looking creature,” said Yale University paleontologist Derek Briggs, co-author of a Nature paper describing the animal. “We were excited to discover that it shows features that have not been observed in older Cambrian anomalocaridids — not one but two sets of swimming flaps along the trunk, representing a stage in the evolution of the two-branched limb, characteristic of modern arthropods such as shrimps.”
The recent discovery of Aegirocassis benmoulae bring new details at arthropods story. The new animal shows that anomalocaridids in fact had two separate sets of flaps per segment. The upper flaps were equivalent to the upper limb branch of modern arthropods, while the lower flaps represent modified walking limbs, adapted for swimming.

Furthermore, a re-examination of older anomalocaridids showed that these flaps also were present in other species, but had been overlooked. These findings show that anomalocaridids represent a stage before the fusion of the upper and lower branches into the double-branched limb of modern arthopods.
Aegirocassis benmoulae is also remarkable from an ecological standpoint, note the researchers. While almost all other anomalocaridids were active predators that grabbed their prey with their spiny head limbs, the Moroccan fossil has head appendages that are modified into an intricate filter-feeding apparatus. This means that the animal could harvest plankton from the oceans. “Giant filter-feeding sharks and whales arose at the time of a major plankton radiation, and Aegirocassis represents a much, much older example of this — apparently overarching — trend,” said Dr. Van Roy is one of the authors of a new study that has shed light on the early evolution and development of arthropod limbs.

Tissint_meteorite on stamp of Morocco 2015The last stamp of the set shows the Tissint Meteorite that fell in Tata Province in the Guelmim-Es Semara region of Morocco on July 18, 2011. Tissint is only the fifth Martian meteorite (A Martian meteorite is a rock that formed on the planet Mars and was then ejected from Mars by the impact of an asteroid or comet, and finally landed on the Earth) that people have witnessed falling to Earth, the last time in 1962. Pieces of the meteorite are on display at several museums, including the Museum of Natural History of Vienna and the Natural History Museum in London.
The Tissint meteorite, a piece of Mars that crashed into Earth in July 2011, may contain proof of ancient life on the red planet, according to a new study. The researchers believe organic carbon found within the meteorite is Martian in origin and may have been created by biologic processes. Recent research estimates the Tissint meteorite was ejected from Mars about 700,000 years ago and may have been formed 400 million to 500 million years ago.

FDC Used cover
FDC Rocks and Fossils of Morocco 2015 used cover from Morocco with fossils and mineral stamps from 2015

References : Post of Morocco Abstract of The International Conference The Rise of Animal Life RALI2015 ForumUUU Sci Tech Daily IB Times Wikipedia


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