Go to contents

World’s Largest Pterosaur Footprint Found in Gunwi

Posted September. 08, 2009 08:26,   


The world’s largest pterosaur footprint has been discovered in Gunwi County, North Gyeongsang Province, the National Heritage Center said yesterday.

An affiliate of the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea, the center said, “A pterosaur footprint 354 millimeters long and 173 millimeters wide was found in late March. The footprint was discovered in a geological stratum belonging to the Cretaceous Period of the Mesozoic Era dating back 90 million to 110 million years ago.”

Given the size of the footprint, the pterosaur is estimated to have wings longer than six to seven meters.

After six months of study, the center concluded that the footprint is the world’s largest. Before the discovery, Haenamichnus uhangriensis, a 350-millimeter long and 105-millimeter wide footprint discovered in Haenam County, South Jeolla Province, in 1996, was the biggest.

The pterosaur, meaning “winged lizard,” is a species different from dinosaurs. Along with dinosaurs, pterosaurs went extinct in the Cretaceous Period (65 million to 70 million years ago). Considering that the forefoot print has traces of three asymmetric toes, the pterosaur is estimated to have used four feet to move.

Pterosaur footprints dating back to the Mesozoic Era have been found in the country in Haenam, Hadong, Sacheon, and Geoje. They have also been discovered in nine other nations including the United States, Spain and China.

Center researcher Lim Jong-deok said, “The footprint proves that the Korean Peninsula had an environment good for several kinds of pterosaurs as well as dinosaurs. The footprint will be a big help in researching the lifestyle of pterosaurs.”

The center will file the footprint with the Symposium of Vertebrate Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy in Bristol, England, late this month.