Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Few days ago I have shown a stamp from Libya picturing a frog fossil. I recently got a postcard - a postal stationery - from China picturing a similar subject. Here are both sides of the card.

The printed “stamp” is rather usual one for item of this type from China, but my interest is more on the picture side, as you can imagine. The card pictures a very rare frog fossil called Callobatrachus sanyanensis. It is a frog of the family Discoglossidae, so called because of their fixed disk-like tongue. This fossil dates from the cretaceous meaning between 146 and 65 Millions of years ago. I don’t understand the legend on the card that speaks about early cretaceous (which is ok) but giving a date of 1.25 Millions years. Is it a mistake?
This fossil was found in the Liaoning province, a province located in the North East of China. 120 Millions years ago this area was a forested lakeside filled with diverse wildlife, surrounded by volcanoes that would periodically erupt, killing animals but also covering them with a fine powder of volcanic ash that would protect their bodies. This is the reason why this area is very famous for its fossils, for instance, this is the area where the link between birds and dinosaurs has been discovered.
On the address side, the grey drawing above the legend is the logo of the IVPP, the institute of vertebrate paleontology and paleoanthropology belonging to the Chinese Academy of Science and located in Beijing.

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