Slovakia 2022 "Important Fossils from Slovakia"
Stanley Gibbons: ,
Yvert & Tellier: ,
||Stamps designer: Karol Felix,
engraver: Frantisek Horniak
|Stamps in set
€0,75- fossil of seal Devinophoca claytoni
€0,75- fossil of gastropod Vexillum svagrovskyi
|Size (width x height)
||30,5mm x 44.4mm
||Two Mini-sheets 3 stamp each
||FDC x2, MS x2
||Recess printing from flat plate combined with offset
||Tiskárna Hradištko, s.r.o., Czech Republic
||60.000 of each stamp
||The Postal Philatelic Service (POFIS)
On September 9th
, 2022, the Post Authority of Slovakia issued the set of two stamps
"Important Fossils from Slovakia".
The Postal Philatelic Service (POFIS) decided to display an exceptional find on a postage stamp with
a nominal value of €0.75, based on a proposal from the Institute of Earth Sciences of the
Slovakian Academy of Science (SAS), after discussion and approval by the Stamp Commission.
The stamps set presentation occurred on September 9, 2022 at the Slovak National Museum (SNM) -
Museum of the Culture of Croats in Slovakia, in Devínská Nová Ves
(Devínska Nová Ves also known by its Hungarian and German names Dévényújfalu and Neudorf an der March is
one of most famous paleontological sites in Slovakia.)
In addition to representatives of the organizers from the Slovak Post, the Slovak Philatelists' Union,
museums, the Devínska Nová Ves district, philatelic clubs, the Institute of Earth Sciences of
the Slovak Republic, the Lesser Karpaty Geopark and the Paleoclub, the small ceremony was attended
by those who were behind the discovery of the seal skull - the discoverer Štefan Meszároš and
co-author of the expert description of the location and the find - emeritus Professor Peter Holec
from the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Charles University.
The official description of the set was written by Dr. Radoslav Biskupic independent researcher, Poprad (Slovakia).
Presentation of Important Fossils from Slovakia stamps in Museum of the Culture of Croats in Slovakia, on September 9, 2022.
Images credit geo.sav.sk
Left on the background: Ján Madarás, gen. director of the Institute of Earth Sciences SAS and Jaroslav Valentín from the philatelist club
Ivana Koubová from the Institute of Earth Sciences of the Slovak Republic and Anna Ďurišová from the
SNM - Natural History Museum in Bratislava during the unveiling of the original seal skull, borrowed from
from the Museum's Collections on the occasion of the inauguration of the postage stamps.
The fossils shown on "Important Fossils from Slovakia" stamps: Devinophoca claytoni on the left, Vexillum svagrovskyi on the right.
Image credit geo.sav.sk
One of the postage stamps depicts the fossil of the holotype of the skull of Devinophoca claytoni
which is be found in the collection
of the Museum of Natural History of the Slovak National Museum (SNM) in Bratislava.
Fossil of seal Devinophoca claytoni
MiNr.: , Scott:
Fossil of seal Devinophoca claytoni on commemorative postmark of Slovakia 2022.
, whose unique fossilised remnants were discovered at Bonanza.
The fossils of this genus and species of seal shows that it had specific morphological features which makes
it stand-out from other groups of seals.
Thus, Devinophoca claytoni
was included into the newly described subfamily Devinophocinae.
The genus and family names were coined from the name of the nearby borough of Devínska Nová Ves and the Latin name for the seal (phoca).
It is very important from an evolutionary point of view as it represents a primitive group of seals, found at Devínska Kobyla,
that is considered to be the predecessors of all the seals that live today.
This precious species was only endemic to Bonanza, where it lived in the shallow marine paleo-environment with the zones of coral
reefs near the former coast of Devínska Kobyla, on the eastern edge of this Tertiary sea, the Central Paratethys.
The morphology of the skull revealed that the species Devinophoca claytoni
ate molluscs and crustaceans.
The holotype seal skull fossil is kept in the collections of the Slovak National Museum - Natural History Museum in Bratislava
and is one of the rarest paleontological collection items.
Side view of the skull of seal Devinophoca claytoni, as depicted in the middle of the
Images credit geo.sav.sk
The Devínská Kobyla
massif in the southern part of the Lesser Carpathians is
one of the most important paleontological regions, not only in Slovakia, but also in Europe and,
in some respects, in the world.
A large number of paleontological sites makes this place unique.
The period of the younger Tertiary, Baden and Sarmatian, approximately 13.5-10 million years ago, is particularly significant.
In the younger Tertiary (Miocene) Devínska Kobyla was a dry land with a peninsular to island ecosystem.
Based on the found fossil communities, it can be assumed that about 13 million years ago, this area was dominated by a subtropical
forest-humid habitat with fresh water sources and rare open areas.
The coast included rocky cliffs and sandy beaches washed by a warm shallow sea that was inhabited by a wide range of marine fauna.
In addition to the well-known Sandberg
, important paleontological sites also include Bonanza,
which is located on the northern edge of Devínská Kobyla, between Dúbravka and Devínská Nova Vsa.
The site is represented by a crack in the Mesozoic limestones, which is filled with marine sediments of the younger Tertiary - Miocene.
Findings of a rare fauna of fossil marine and terrestrial vertebrates were described from the site.
Artistic reconstruction of the seal Devinophoca claytoni. Dry pastel, author Ivana Koubová Source: archive of I. Koubová,
Image credit geo.sav.sk
Reconstruction of prehistoric life at Devínska Kobyla hill on Maxi Card of Slovakia 2022.
The maxi-card shows the fauna living in the terrestrial environments adjacent to the embayment on the central Paratethys.
The fauna includes a variety of mammals, birds, and reptiles. The seal can be seen under bottom-left corner of the postmark.
Another stamp shows gastropod Vexillum svagrovskyi
is a precious endemic species that has only been found in the paleontological site
at Konopiská pri Rohožníku.
The species was named in honour of Professor Jozef Švagrovský
(1921-1985), an important Slovak geologist, paleontologist
and university teacher.
Fossil of gastropod Vexillum svagrovskyi
MiNr.: , Scott:
Its discovery supplements and updates our knowledge of the diversity of fossil molluscs that lived in the Neogene Sea of Paratethys.
Included within the clay sediments was a specific population of gastropods among which common,
rare, and previously undescribed species were identified.
One of the newly described species of molluscs
from the site was a predatory thermophilic marine gastropod from the family Costellariidae – Vexillum svagrovskyi
The species was named in honour of prof. Jozef Švagrovský (1921–1985), an outstanding Slovak geologist,
palaeontologist and university teacher.
A similar species, Vexillum neudorfensis
, was discovered in the borough of Devínska Nová Ves.
It differs from the former with transverse ribs and spiral grooves that are evenly developed on all whorls,
plus five columellar folds.
Approximately 13 million years ago, populations of Vexillum svagrovskyi
lived in marine paleo-environments of
the deep sub-littoral zones with a soft muddy seabed.
The species had adapted to the unfavourable environmental conditions that were characterised by a reduced
flow of water and a low oxygen concentration near the seabed.
The postage stamp depicts a holotype that is deposited, together with other examples, in the collection
of the Museum of Natural History of the Slovak National Museum in Bratislava.
Fossil of gastropod Vexillum svagrovskyi - view of different sides.
Image credit "A new
evidence of Vexillum (Gastropoda: Costellariidae) from the middle Miocene (Serravallian) of the Vienna Basin (Slovakia)" by
Konopiská pri Rohožníku
is one of the major Slovak paleontological sites,
that includes finds of fossilised marine fauna from the Tertiary Period.
The illustration on the Maxi card for the Slovakia 2022 set shows a reconstruction of the environment
at Konopiská pri Rohožníku that includes many of the animals that lived in this environment.
[Note: Tertiary Period is an obsolete term.
It has been split into two periods - the Paleogene and Neogene.
Looking up the site - it appears to date to the Miocene Epoch.
The Miocene Epoch is a portion of the Neogene Period.]
The site, a former clay extraction pit and the close by surrounding area, is situated east of the
municipality of Rohožník which can be found on the eastern edge of the Záhorská nížina lowland.
Various types of marine clay, sand, arenaceous clay and algal marls that contained a wide range of
fossilised marine fauna (invertebrates and vertebrates) were discovered in the clay pit.
These animals come from the younger Tertiary Period – the Miocene, when approximately 13 million years ago,
sedimentation took place in the shallow and deep marine environments on the eastern edge of the Vienna Basin,
which at that time was one of the bays of the Central Paratethys.
Four additional prehistoric animals are shown on the cachets and postmarks of FDC.
The postmark of Bratislava from the FDC
with Devinophoca claytoni stamp
shows prehistoric toad
Fossil of prehistoric toad Bufo priscus on commemorative postmark of Slovakia 2022.
Fossil of prehistoric toad Bufo priscus from collection of Natural History Museum in Bratislava.
Image credit Natural History Museum in Bratislava.
With a body length of about 8 cm, it belonged to a medium-sized species of toad.
The skeleton of the Bufo priscus
toad was found in the 1980s by an amateur
paleontologist Štefan Meszároš.
While exploring the quarry of the former Štokeravská limestone on Devínská Kobyla
he discovered a fissure in the limestone of the quarry,
which he called "Bonanza" due to the richness of the fossils of marine and terrestrial fossils he discovered there.
Later, in the years 1996-1998, paleontological research was carried out on the site.
The fissure was filled mainly with marine sandy sediments from the younger Tertiary period,
more precisely the upper Baden (about 14 million years ago), when the sea from the south,
from the Pannonian basin, penetrated further north and flooded the slopes of Devínsky Kobyla
Numerous fossil skeletal remains of about 37 species of marine and terrestrial vertebrates were
found in the sediments.
The remains of terrestrial animals were floated into the fissure from the surrounding land.
The fossil is stored in the collection fund of the SNM - Natural History Museum in Bratislava.
The cachet of the same FDC shows the skull of a primitive middle Miocene (Badenian) primate,
, discovered at the paleontological locality "Zapfe's fissure"
(Stockerau quarry) near Devínska Nová Ves
fissure in western Slovakia,
by Austrian paleontologist Helmuth Zapfe (1913-1996).
Major portions of three individuals are preserved, including a well-preserved skull,
associated limb bones, vertebrae, scapulae and an ilium, which indicated extreme primitiveness.
Today, these fossils are part of collection of the Natural History Museum in Vienna
(Naturhistorische Museum, Vienna).
Fossil of prehistoric primate Epipliopithecus vindobonensis on cachet of FDC of Slovakia 2022.
The skull of prehistoric primate Epipliopithecus vindobonensis from collection of Natural History Museum in Vienna.
These fossils have some resemblances to gibbons bones.
These fossils were described by Zapfe and Hürzeler
(paleontologist from Switzerland) in 1957.
It was originally named as a subgenus of Pliopithecus (Pliopithecus vindobonensis
), but later on, based on more detailed analysis of its teeth,
it was recognized as a separate genus from Pliopithecus
is an extinct species of pliopithecoid primate (superfamily of catarrhine primates that
inhabited Asia and Europe during the Miocene).
is one of the few pliopithecoids for which both cranial and post-cranial fossil material has been recovered.
Most pliopithecoids are known only from fossilized teeth, whereas Epipliopithecus
is known from three nearly complete skeletons.
As such, Epipliopithecus
has greatly informed the modern understanding of pliopithecoid anatomy, locomotion, and phylogeny.
had comparatively long hands and feet, and long, curved fingers, and was mostly likely an agile climber.
Microfossil of foraminifera on Rohožník postmark of FDC of Slovakia 2022.
Fossil of coral Solenastrea desmoulinsi on cachet of FDC of Slovakia 2022.
Fossil of coral Solenastrea desmoulinsi, used as a template for illustration of the cachet on an FDC.
The postmark of Rohožník from the FDC
with Vexillum svagrovskyi
stamp shows a shell of foraminifera.
A foraminiferan - a single-celled, microfossil.
Foraminifera appeared at the beginning of the Cambrian periood, but remained small in size for
the next 200 million years.
Some of them superficially looked like ammonoids with a coiled shell - but since this is a Miocene-aged site,
an ammonoid would be a poor choice of fossil to show since they had died out some 50 million years beforehand.
The cachet of the same FDC shows a scleractinian coral of the species Solenastrea desmoulinsi
originated from the middle Miocene (Badenian) marine deposits exposed at the site near
Dubová (Danube Basin, Slovakia).
A similar coral species Heliastrea reussiana
was found at Devínska Nová Ves, the place where fossil
of the seal Devinophoca claytoni
(Side view of the skull
of the seal Devinophoca claytoni shown in the middle)
(clean and circulated)
||Examples of used covers
(registered and regular letters)
Many thanks to
Dr. Peter Voice from Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Western Michigan University, for the draft page review.
Many thanks to
Dr. Radoslav Biskupic independent researcher, Poprad (Slovakia), for his help finding details about fossils
mentioned in this article.