Rarities from the land Down Under

By in Animals, Fauna, Nature, Philately on August 13, 2018
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This stamp is part of a  sheet issued by Australia in 2005 was spookily entitled “Creatures of the Slime” and focussed on the world’s first animals – multicellular organisms, some probably related to worms, jellyfish, and snails, dating back some 560 million years. Known as Ediacaran fossils – predating dinosaurs by millions of years – these creatures have a particular connection to Australia. They are named after the Ediacaran Hills of the Flinders Ranges World Heritage site in South Australia.

This is one of the best places in the world where fossils of these first animals can be found. Of the 100 to 150 different species which have been discovered worldwide, between 30 and 40 are found in the Flinders Ranges. In 1946, an Australian mining geologist named Reginald Sprigg found fossilised imprints. The name “Ediacara” comes from an Aboriginal word meaning “vein-like spring of water”.

The stamps were illustrated by Melbourne artist, Peter Trusler. Scientific advice was provided by Drs. Patricia Vickers-Rich (Monash University), Jim Gehling (Museum of South Australia) and Mikhail A. Fedonkin (Paleontological Institute, Moscow).

Tribrachidium (50c) – which may have lived on the sea floor.

Dickinsonia (50c) – a “germ eater” having a very elegant form.

Spriggina (50c) – between an arthropod and a segmented annelid worm.

Kimberella (50c) – probably a soft shelled mollusc.

Inaria (50c) – may be one of the oldest fossils of an animal showing the entire body.

Charnodiscus ($1.00) – a feather-like organism.

Other related products for this issue included a first day cover, stamp pack, miniature sheet, maximum cards, and an activity book.

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