On July 12 1990, Canadian Post issued the set "Prehistoric Life in Canada, The Age of
Primitive Life" - the first four stamps in a four-year series on "Prehistoric Life in
This series covers a time period from 1,9000 million to 10,000 years
ago and features organisms found as fossils in different parts of Canada.
Montreal graphic designer Rolf Harder worked closely with Canadian paleontologists
to ensure the accurate depiction of these prehistoric life forms in his art.
Rolf Harder was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1929.
He studied at the Hamburg Academy of Fine Arts and spent most of the 1950s working as a designer
and art director in both German and Canadian ad agencies and design firms.
He moved to Montreal in 1959 and opened his own firm, Rolf Harder Design.
In 1972, he was a founding member of Editions Signum and Signum Press, publishers
of limited editions of original graphics and books.
In 1990s he was the head of Rolf Harder and Associates Inc. in Quebec.
His work has won more than one hundred national and international design awards
in countries throughout the world and has appeared in professional publications in
North America, Europe, Korea, and Japan.
Harder (died in 2013) has had long-term relationships with clients in government, including Canada Post.
He has designed more than 60 postage stamps, including all four stamp issues of
"Prehistoric Life in Canada" (1990 - "The Age of Primitive Life",
1991 - "The Age of Primitive Vertebrates",
1993 - "The Age of Dinosaurs",
1994 - "The Age of Mammals")
These stamps from "The Age of Primitive Life" shows the following prehistoric animals, discovered
in the territory of Canada:
Single-celled microbes, the simplest form of life, evolved over 3,500 million
years ago Blue=green algae, a type of photosynthetic microbe, formed
layered sedimentary rocks called stromatolites.
The magnificently preserved cells found in the Lake Superior region represent one of the
most significant discoveries of the century, proving that ancient
stromatolites were created by blue-green algae.
The columnar stromatolite shown on the stamp was found in the Precambrian rocks of westem
Quebec and is about 1,900 million years old.
The Burgess Shale deposit in British Columbia, deposited during the Cambrian Period
530 million years ago, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, important for the
many fossils of soft-bodies life forms it contains.
An example of an extinct species of invertebrate isOpabinia regallis,
an animal with five eyes, an extensible trunk with claws and an airplane-like tail.
Opabinia regallis an extinct order of invertebrates with no living
Trilobites lived throughout the Paleozoic Era, from 570 to 250 million years ago.
They possessed a mineralized outer skeleton that moulted many times during growth.
Trilobites are one of the most common and popular fossils for collectors.
Paradoxides davidis because of its large size (35 cm) and spiny
head and tail, is one of the finest examples found in Cambrian rocks of
Newfoundland and is about 530 million years old.
Sea scorpions, such as Eurypterus remipes represent some of the most
spectacular of all invertebrate fossils.
When Eurypterus remipes lived in a sea covering what is now Ontario
about 420 million years ago in the Silurian Period their cousins,
the true scorpions, were among the first animals to venture onto land.
Later sea scorpions grew to gigantic size, up to two or more metres in length,
around 300 million years ago. Eurypterids are a member of the chelicerata.
The chelicerates include three major groups
the horseshoe crabs
The Eurypterids are more closely related to the arachnids.
The arachnids is a very diverse group that includes spiders, ticks, mites,
True scorpions are not descended from the eurypterids.
Many thanks to Dr. Peter Voice, PhD Department of Geological and
Environmental Sciences, Western Michigan University, USA, for his help in finding
information and for review draft page of the article.