This glow-in-the-dark silver coin is dedicated to original and outstanding evidence of the history of Latvia, which helps us to learn about and understand the course of evolution and at the same time makes the finding of Latvian scientists very significant in the whole world.
Ventastega is a stem tetrapod from the Devonian period (419.2 – 358.9 Mya). It transports us to a fantastic time, which saw the explosion of life on land, particularly flora, but is primarily known for the incredible range of fish. These creatures fossils were first discovered in Latvia and have proven very useful in understanding the transition from fish to tetrapod. This predatory animal still spent almost its entire life in the water, with the leg adaptation coming about to enable better movement in river delta shallows. Ventastega was a four-legged predator, with its length slightly over one metre; it lived approximately 365 million years ago. At that time, the territory of present-day Latvia was located some degrees to the South from the equator, at the south-eastern edge of the palaeocontinent of Euramerica.
The fossil remains of Ventastega Curonica were found at rock exposures in the Venta River basin near Skrunda in Kurzeme. The name of the species bears reference to the Venta and Kurzeme, and by this name, this animal is recognised among scientists and prehistory enthusiasts all over the world.
Rocks and the fossils of animals and plants preserved in them are the only evidence from so ancient times. Just a few findings of Devonian tetrapod fossils are known today. Therefore, the findings of Latvian Ventastega and the related lobe-finned fish are of considerable scientific importance in learning about the evolution of vertebrates.
This coin is special as the Ventastega's skeleton is marked with photoluminescent print. First, keep the coin in the direct bright light for at least 40 seconds, then look at it in the dark - Ventastega's skeleton will glow. Magic!
The coin reverse face takes the sensible approach of replicating the look of Ventastega with just a lightweight level of detail, given actual details of its real look are limited (the fossil we used for our featured image above is not this animal).
The obverse depicts 350 million years since Ventastega existed as a series of concentric rings and dots.
A rare delve into the prehistoric past of a Devonian tetrapod!
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