Argentine instigators found the remains of the fossilized skin of a penguin wing that is 43 million years old on the island of Marambio in Antarctica.
The discovery was made by Sergio Santillana of the Argentine Antarctic Institute during the Antarctic expedition of 2014. The fossil was studied in the Museum of La Plata by the Argentine paleontologist Carolina Acosta Hospitaleche, the Agency of Scientific Disclosure of the National University of La Matanza reported this Friday.
La piel fosilizada pertenece a la especie Palaeeudyptes gunnari, una de las más numerosas de pingüinos que vivía en la Antártida durante el Eoceno, hace 43 millones de años, cuando la región no era un continente blanco sino que había bosques y fauna diversa.
"The fossilization of the skin of this wing is a unique find because it is the first example of a penguin with preserved skin in the world," said Acosta Hospitaleche, an investigator in the Paleontology Division of Vertebrates of the Museum of La Plata and member of the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research.
According to the investigator's findings as reported by the Agency of Scientific Disclosure, this is about "the first example of a penguin with skin preserved in the world, and more than that, it is the first representative of a modern bird with petrified skin worldwide."
"The skin has been preserved as a fossil on both wing surfaces, packaging bones that have remained clearly in their original positions, including elements that ossify from the tendons onward," she explained.
These conditions have allowed them to analyze "the connective tissue of the wing and its morphology, and the follicle density where the feathers are inserted," she said.