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The first record of fossil penguins from East Antarctica

  • Piotr Jadwiszczak (a1), Krzysztof P. Krajewski (a2), Zinaida Pushina (a3), Andrzej Tatur (a4) and Grzegorz Zieliński (a5)...

This paper presents the first fossil penguin from East Antarctica, and the only one known south of the Antarctic Circle. It is represented by two well-preserved elements of the wing skeleton, humerus and radius, obviously assignable to the extant genus Spheniscus. They were found in the glaciomarine succession of the Fisher Bench Formation (Fisher Massif, Prince Charles Mountains, Mac. Robertson Land), which was dated using Strontium Isotope Stratigraphy to be Late Miocene in age (10.2 Ma). They are only slightly younger than the oldest remains undoubtedly attributable to this taxon. The X-ray diffraction and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy indicate diagenetic alteration of the original bone bioapatite under dominantly marine conditions. The Late Miocene was a period of ice margin retreat and marine incursion into the Lambert embayment that followed Middle Miocene cooling of the Antarctic climate. The fossils strongly suggest that variable climatic and environmental conditions in East Antarctica may have been an important factor in the evolution of penguins there during the Neogene.

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Antarctic Science
  • ISSN: 0954-1020
  • EISSN: 1365-2079
  • URL: /core/journals/antarctic-science
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