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Ice Age Animal Stamps



I don't think this has been mentioned, but the Royal Mail has issued a  
series of 5 stamps featuring ice age animals:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/newsid_4820000/newsid_4824800/4824866.stm
 
Enter the contest to win a set of the stamps--but you have to be under 16  
and live in the UK.  However, any DML reader who cannot answer the question  
should unsubscribe from the list immediately.
 
More information on the stamps (with pictures) is at:
 
http://www.norphil.co.uk/2006/03c-iceage.htm
___
Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks  
Ice Age  Animals - 21 March 2006 
Royal Mail continues the animals theme with a set of  5 striking images of 
creatures from the ice age which began around 2 million  years ago. The set 
features the giant deer, sabre tooth cat, woolly rhino, cave  bear, and woolly 
mammoth, all of which once roamed the United Kingdom.
 
Stamp designs and background
1st class - sabre tooth cat (Homotherium  latidens)
There were many different species of sabre-tooth cat around the  world; all 
are now extinct. The last European species, Homotherium, died out  about 
400,000 years ago. Although overall about the size of a lion, it had a  long 
neck 
and relatively long front legs, which together with muscular  forequarters made 
the animal look more like a hyena than a cat. It pursued prey  such as horses 
and young mammoths, and used the long canine teeth - strongly  flattened and 
quite fragile - to press into captured prey rather than to capture  or stab at 
them.
 
42p - giant deer (Megaloceros giganteus)
Giant deer had the largest  antlers of any known deer, living or extinct. 
They grew in size and complexity  through the animal's youth, typically 
reaching 
a span of 2.5-3.5 metres in large  stags. Shed each year in the spring, they 
were grown through the summer, and  used in fighting during late autumn and 
winter. These huge deer reached around  1.8 m height at the shoulder and 
weighed 
around 500 kg. The giant deer lived in  small herds and was not an abundant 
species, perhaps because growing the huge  antlers restricted it to areas of 
mineral-rich vegetation. The last ones died  out only 7,000 years ago in 
western 
Siberia.
 
47p - woolly rhino (Coelodonta antiquitatis)
DNA extracted from frozen  carcasses has shown that the woolly rhino was most 
closely related to the living  Sumatran rhinoceros. It had a body weight of 
about 2 tons, a massive shoulder  with a height of about 1.8 metres, and a 
thick mane. The extraordinary front  horn was typically 1.2m long, and very 
flattened. Close examination reveals that  the front edge had a 'keel', 
suggesting 
active side-to-side movements of the  head, perhaps for snow-clearing. Like 
living rhinos, the woolly rhino was  probably solitary or lived in small groups.
 
69p - woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius)
Contrary to popular belief,  the woolly mammoth was no larger than living 
elephants, but with a domed head,  sloping back, thick, hairy coat and enormous 
spirally curved tusks. It also had  tiny ears and a very short tail - probably 
to minimise heat loss or frostbite.  Stomach remains preserved in some 
Siberian carcasses show that the diet was 90%  grass, plus mosses, ferns, and 
some 
shrub browse. Living in an open habitat, it  is likely that herds often 
accumulated into hundreds or even thousands of  animals, but within this 
smaller 
family structures, as in living elephants,  still remained.
 
£1.12 - cave bear (Ursus spelaus)
Fossils of this extinct species have  been found only in the middle and 
southern latitudes of the European continent.  A bear of very large size - 
larger 
than the American grizzly - it was also  marked out by a very pronounced 'step' 
shape of the forehead. Some caves in  central and eastern Europe have yielded 
vast quantities of remains - up to  30,000 individuals in one Austrian cave 
alone. While most species of the bear  family are omnivorous, recent 
biochemical analyses of fossil bones confirm that  the cave bear was an 
exclusive 
vegetarian.
 
Technical details: 
The stamps, designed by Howard Brown with  illustrations by Andrew Davidson, 
will be printed in lithography by Joh Enschede  Security Print, size 37x35mm, 
perforated 14x14.5 
All images except FDCs are  copyright Royal Mail 2005/6. 
___
 
Mary