The denomination on these stamps is "1", the rate for items weighing up to 20g with
destinations in the Netherlands and has a value of €1,01 at the time of issue.
Each stamp sheet in the "Prehistoric Animals" series includes five personal stamps
in five different designs.
Three stamps feature various images of the prehistoric animal in its natural habitat.
The other two stamps feature fossils of the same animal, surrounded by drawn earth
layers in which that fossil was found.
Fossils of all prehistoric animals depicted on the stamps were found on the
seabed of the southern North Sea.
This time two prehistoric and one extinct animals were depicted on the stamps:
Mastodon (Anancus arvernensis),
Blunt-snouted dolphin (Platalearostrum hoekmani),
Giant Auk (Pinguinus impennis - extinct animal).
Mastodon, Anancus arvernensis
Anancus is an extinct genus of mastodons that evolved about 8.5 million years ago, from Tetralophodon
in Pakistan and went extinct approximately 2 million years ago in Europe.
The mastodon entered Europe approximately 7.2 million years ago and around 7 million years
ago dispersed into Africa.
The mastodon disappeared from Asia and Africa around the end of the Pliocene,
approximately 2.6 million years ago.
The European Anancus arvernensis was the last surviving species, becoming extinct
during the Early Pleistocene, around 2 million years ago, with its latest possible
record being at Eastern Scheldt in the Netherlands
around 1.6 million years ago.
Anancus arvernensis could reach shoulder heights of around 2.5–2.6 metres,
with a volumetric estimate suggesting a body mass of around 5.2 to 6 tons,
comparable to living African Elephants.
The tusks were largely straight and lacked enamel and were slender, and proportionally
One large tusk of the species Anancus arvernensis from Stoina,
Romania measures 3.71 metres in
length with an estimated mass of 70 kilograms.
Dental microwear analysis of Anancus arvernensis specimens from the
Early Pleistocene of Europe generally suggests that it was a browser,
consuming twigs, bark, seeds and fruit.
Anancus arvernensis was widely distributed in western Europe in the late
Pliocene and Early Pleistocene:
The Netherlands and
Several molars of the Mastodon were fished from the North Sea floor.
These have been dredged from, among others, the Thornton Bank and De Reeper of the
coast of Zeeland.
Thornton Bank is located at the boundary between the Belgian and
Dutch portions of the continental shelf.
This site has long been known for a mix of remains of Tertiary marine mammals
and Early Pleistocene terrestrial mammals.
It is one of the few North Sea locations where remains of the mastodon
Anancus arvernensis, have been dredged up from the seafloor.
The location De Reeper with greatly varying water depths off the coast of the
province of Zeeland is important for insight into the
distribution of an Early Pleistocene fauna including the mastodon of
In addition, Anancus arvernensis is also known from onshore deposits in East England
and plays an important role as evidence for a significantly lower global sea level
and the exposed southern bight of the North Sea at the end of the Pliocene and the beginning of the
Dick Mol (in the background) and Remie Bakker (in the foreground) work on reconstruction
of Anancus arvernensis in December 2009.
The fossils indicate that during the Pleistocene and the beginning of the Holocene there
were connections between the continent of Europe and the British Isles, the so called
This dry land must have been the route for the mastodons and
shortly thereafter the southern mammoths, Mammuthus meridionalis, to expand
their distribution into East England.
The life-size reconstruction (220 cm at the shoulders) of the Mastodon, Anancus arvernensis,
was created by Mr. Remie Bakker for the
Musée Crozatier in LE PUY-EN-VELAY in France in 2010,
based on the fossils of museums of Italy and France.
As for many other prehistoric animal reconstructions, used by
studio026 as motif for the stamps, the reconstruction
of the mastodon was created by Mr. Bakker under supervision
of Mr. Dick Mol, also known as "Sir Mammoth".
Life size reconstruction of Anancus arvernensis created by Mr. Remie Bakker in 2010 under supervision
of Mr. Dick Mol, for the Musée Crozatier in LE PUY-EN-VELAY in France.
Image credit: ManimalWorks.
Hoekman's dolphin, Platalearostrum hoekmani
The blunt-snouted dolphin (Platalearostrum hoekmani) is a prehistoric pilot whale known from a single specimen,
consisting of partial fragments of the rostrum, maxilla, premaxilla, and vomer
(these bones are all part of the front of the skull - essentially the dolphin’s face).
The fossil was discovered by Albert Hoekman on board a fishing trawler in the North Sea in 2008 and described in 2010
by Klaas Post and Erwin J.O. Kompanje.
who lived during the middle Pliocene to early Pleistocene
(4.5 - 2.5 million years ago), with estimated width of 6 meters
was smaller then the modern pilot whale,
it is believed to have had a balloon like structure atop its rostrum.
This organ is a fatty mass that produces sound waves and plays a role in
echolocation and communication of the animals.
The jaw of the dolphin contained only six teeth.
The stamp designs were based on a digital illustration created by Mr. Remie Bakker in 2009 for “Diensia” magazine,
to illustrate the article of Klaas Post and Erwin J.O. Kompanje where they described the dolphin species.
Mr. Post supervised the work of Mr. Bakker to enable him to create an accurate model of the dolphin.
Reconstruction of the head of Platalearostrum at the Museum of Natural History, Rotterdam.
Image credit: Wikipedia
Reconstruction of Platalearostrum by Mr. Remie Bakker for “Diensia” magazine.
Image credit: ManimalWorks
Great Auk, Pinguinus impennis (extinct rather prehistoric animal)
The great auk (Pinguinus impennis) is a species of flightless alcid that became
extinct in the mid-19th century.
It was the only modern species in the genus Pinguinus.
It is not closely related to the Southern Hemisphere birds now
known as penguins, which were discovered later by Europeans and so
named by sailors because of their physical resemblance to the great auk, which were
Similar to all other animals depicted on the "Prehistoric Animals" personal stamps
of the Netherlands from 2023, bones of the Great Auk were Dredged from the North Sea.
Their age was estimated to be 3500 years old.
Mastodon, Anancus arvernensis: Wikipedia,
"The paleontological and archaeological finds from the bottom of the North Sea",
Staringia Nr. 17, 2022
Blunt-snouted Dolphin, Platalearostrum hoekmani,: Wikipedia,
"A new dolphin (Cetacea, Delphinidae) from the Plio-Pleistocene of the North Sea", by
Klaas Post & Erwin J.O. Kompanje, published in "Deinsea" magazine in 2010.