Relief of Svalbard is an effect of varied morphogenetic, exogenic and endogenic processes. Tectonic and glacioisostatic movements of the Earth crust have occurred many a time in this region. Glacial, marine and periglacial features are particularly common. During the Late Quaternary the western Nordenskiöld Land underwent several sea transgressions, followed by glacier advances. Basing on erratics of crystalline rocks transported by sea ice, past sea levels have been established up to 250 m a.s.l. Marine terraces above 60 m a.s.l. date back to the Late Pleistocene, the lower ones are of the Holocene age.
The fossil record of the Antarctic penguins is dated to the late Paleocene of Seymour (Marambio) Island, but the largest sphenisciforms, genera Anthropornis and Palaeeudyptes , originate from the Eocene La Meseta Formation. Here, the most complete large−scale reconstruction of a limb skeleton (a whole wing and a partial hind leg) of a Paleogene Antarctic penguin is reported. All bones are attributable to a single individual identified as Anthropornis sp. The comparative and functional analyses of the material indicate that this bird was most probably well−adapted to land and sea while having a number of intriguing features. The modern−grade carpometacarpal morphology is unique among known Eocene Antarctic species and all but one more northerly taxa.