Acta Palaeontologica Polonica

The oldest fossil record of the extant penguin genus Spheniscus - a new species from the Miocene of Peru

Ursula B. Göhlich

Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 52 (2), 2007: 285-298

Described here is a partial postcranial skeleton and additional disarticulated but associated bones of the new fossil penguin Spheniscus muizoni sp. nov. from the latest middle/earliest late Miocene (11-13 Ma) locality of Cerro la Bruja in the Pisco Formation, Peru. This fossil species can be attributed to the extant genus Spheniscus by postcranial morphology and is the oldest known record of this genus. Spheniscus muizoni sp. nov. is about the size of the extant Jackass and Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus demersus and Spheniscus magellanicus). Beside Spheniscus urbinai and Spheniscus megaramphus it is the third species of Spheniscus represented in the Pisco Formation. This study contains morphological comparisons with Tertiary penguins of South America and with most of the extant penguin species.

Key words: Spheniscidae, Pisco Formation, Miocene, Peru.

Ursula B. Göhlich, Université Claude Bernard  Lyon 1, UMR P.E.P.S., Bâtiment Géode, 2 rue Dubois, F-69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France; present address: Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, Geologisch-Paläontologische Abteilung, Burgring 7, A-1010 Wien, Austria.

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