Isle of Man

Fossils and paleontologists on stamps of Isle of Man

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Contents:
The Isle of Man, also known simply as Man, is a self-governing Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between England and Northern Ireland. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann. The Lord of Mann is represented by a Lieutenant Governor. Foreign relations and defence are the responsibility of the British Government. The island has been inhabited since before 6500 BC. Gaelic cultural influence began in the 5th century and the Manx language, a branch of the Gaelic languages, emerged.
While most residents speak English or a dialect of Manx English, a small portion of the population still speaks Manx. [R1]

The postal history of the island pre-dates introduction of the first postage stamps in 1840. The island used British stamps until 1958 when regional issues were first released. The Isle of Man Post Office was founded in 1973 to secure postal independence and, since then, the island has issued its own stamps. [R2]



Official stamps of the Isle of Man related to Paleontology: fossils, paleontologists

27.02.1979 "Centenary of Natural History and Antiquarian Society" [1] 05.02.1986 "Centenary of the Manx Museum" [2] 05.05 1994 "Europa" [3]
Gastropod fossil on stamps of Isle of Man 1979 Fossil of Megaloceros Giganteus on stamp of Isle of Man 1986 Prehistoric animals on stamps of Isle of Man 1994
15.02.2006 "Isle of Man Society of Natural History and Archaeology" [4]
Ammonite on stamp of Isle of Man 2006

Notes:

Philip Moore Callow Kermode and fossil gastropod Nassa kermodei on stamp of Isle of Map 1979
Philip Moore Callow Kermode and fossil gastropod Nassa kermodei on stamp of Isle of Map 1979 MiNr.: 138, Scott: 142
[1] Stamp with face value of 6 p., shows portrait of Philip Moore Callow Kermode (1855 – 1932), who was a Manx antiquarian and historian (not paleontologist). In 1922 he became the first director of the newly established Manx Museum.
Another object on the stamp is fossil gastropod (the Gastropoda or gastropods are more commonly known as snails and slugs Nassa kermodei. The first gastropods were exclusively marine, with the earliest representatives of the group appearing in the Late Cambrian, 497 to 485.4 million years ago.


[2] The stamp with face value of 22p shows the Great Deer (Megaloceros giganteus) who was an inhabitant of Man at the Ice Age and became extinct in prehistoric times.
The Great deer, is an extinct species of deer in the genus Megaloceros and is one of the largest deer that ever lived. Its range extended across Eurasia during the Pleistocene, from Ireland to Siberia to China.
Great Deer on stamp of Isle of Man 1986 Great Deer in Castle Rushen Great Deer in Manx Museum
Great deer (Megaloceros giganteus) on stamp of Isle of Man 1986, MiNr.: 304, Scott: 303 Great deer (Megaloceros giganteus) on display in Castle Rushen (1905-1950s) Great deer (Megaloceros giganteus) on display in Manx Museum
The very first, nearly, complete skeleton of Megaloceros giganteus in the world was found on Isle of Man. It was in 1819 when a man called Thomas Kewish discovered it in a marl pit (by "marl” is usually meant an open-water mud rich in calcium carbonate deposited principally by the algae Chara. Such a mud gives clear evidence of the former existence of a lake in whose calcium-rich deposits bone would be readily preserved) at Loughan Ruy, a basin on the Ballaugh gravel fan, Isle of Man. Only a few bones are missing in the skeleton, most notably the pelvis. Kewish used a large horse pelvis, among a few other things, to fill in the gaps. Kewish entered into a partnership with James Taubman, the tenant of the field where the fossils came from. They placed the mounted skeleton on display and charged admission to view it. The Duke of Athol, who was the Queen’s Representative on the Isle of Man, later claimed the fossils as Lord of the Manor. After a lawsuit, the Giant Deer came into the Duke’s possession. The Duke of Athol later gave the specimen to the Museum of the University of Edinburg. The Elk was later transferred with other specimens to the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers St, Edinburgh. As it was the first skeleton of Megaloceros giganteus its drawing appeared in many scientific essay and books.

The skeleton on the stamp is the second complete skeleton discovered on Isle of Man. It was excavated at Close-y-Garey, St. John's in 1897. The articulated skeleton was originally displayed in the temporary museum at Castle Rushen in 1905 before being transported to the Manx museum in the 1950s, where it is still on display today. [R3]


Fossil starfish Solaster moretonis on stamp of Isle of Man 1994 Edward Forbes on stamp of Isle of Man 1994 Fossil of Merocanites compressus ammonite on stamp of Isle of Manp 2006
Fossil starfish Solaster moretonis on stamp of Isle of Man 1994, MiNr.: 590, Scott: 597 Edward Forbes on stamp of Isle of Man 1994, MiNr.: 589, Scott: 596 Fossil of Merocanites compressus ammonite on stamp of Isle of Manp 2006 MiNr.: 1270, Scott: 1140
[3] Stamp with face value of 30 p shows a fossil of an individual Solaster moretonis. This is a type of starfish which was first described by Edward Forbes. Edward Forbes appears on a second stamp in the set (face value of 20 p).
Very few species of the genus Solaster are known in the seas of the passing epoch. Solaster moretonis and Solaster endeca are both inhabitants of the European seas. They are many rayed star-fishes of considerable dimensions, and resemble in their shape the conventional figure of the sun. None had hitherto been found in the fossil state until the remarkable and unique starfish now for the first time figured and described was procured by Earl Ducie. It was found in a fawn-coloured freestone belonging to the Great Oolite (?) at Windrush Quarry, in Gloucestershire.

[4] Stamp with face value of 97p., shows volcanic rock of Scarlett Point and Castletown with fossil of Merocanites compressus ammonite in the foreground.



References:



Acknowledgement:
Dr. Peter Voice from Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Western Michigan University, for the draft page review and his valuable comments.


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