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Abstract

Penguins are by far the most dominant group of marine vertebrates in the Eocene La Meseta Formation (Seymour Island, Antarctica). We analysed the penguin fauna recovered there from both a systematic and a biostratigraphic point of view. We have added two new species (Tonniornis mesetaensis and T. minimum) and have defined a biostratigraphic unit, the Anthropornis nordenskjoeldi Biozone. This interval of strata, easily distinguishable by the numerous occurrence of penguin bones and the phosphatic brachiopod Lingula, is located nearly 30–35 m below the top of the 145 m-thick Submeseta Allomember. The highest morphological and taxonomic penguin diversity living sympatrically (organisms that live simultaneously in the same place), including giant and tiny species, is documented in this interval. Fossil penguins bones studied in this paper, recovered from rocks interpreted as shallow-marine deposits, accumulated between 34.2 and 36.13 Ma (late Late Eocene).

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