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Fossil footprints uncovered in Hwasun

Posted June. 29, 2022 07:53,   

Updated June. 29, 2022 07:53


A fossil specimen of pterosaur footprints has been discovered from a fossil site in Seoyu, Baeka Village, Hwasun County, South Jeolla Province (Natural Monument No. 487), the first evidence in the world to suggest gregarious gathering of pterosaurs.

The research team led by Professor Heo Min of Chonnam National University announced on Tuesday that it discovered the fossil specimen of 350 pterosaur footprints that range from 2 to 6 centimeters long at the fossil site in Hwasun.

At the time of the discovery, the footprints were closely packed, barely having any gaps left in between. The fossils are well-preserved to enable a visible observation of fore legs and hind legs, according to the research team. The fossilized footprints is an assemblage of both big and small size of footprints, indicating that young pterosaurs and mature pterosaurs lived together in a group.

“It has been presumed that pterosaurs lived in a group based on the fossilized bones and fossil nests. The latest discovery of the fossils of pterosaur footprints is the first in the world evidencing that they lived in groups,” said Professor Heo. “The fossils suggest that the dinosaurs lived in this area around 90 million years ago.”

Based on the discovery, the research team submitted an article entitled, “Evidence for a mixed-age group in a pterosaur footprint assemblage from the early Upper Cretaceous of Korea,” on the latest volume of the Scientific Reports, a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal Nature on Thursday.

The research team will give a presentation on the article and follow-up studies at the 11th International Symposium on the Cretaceous System commemorating 200th anniversary of the Study of the Cretaceous System held in Warsaw, Poland in August and the 82nd Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, which will take place in November in Toronto, Canada.

Seung-Ho Jung shjung@donga.com