By Bae Ji-sook
The world's largest footprint of a pterosaur was discovered in southeastern Gunwi County, North Gyeongsang Province, authorities said Monday.
Upon international approval, Korea will hold the record of having the two largest footprints of the ancient reptile, according to the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage.
The footprint was discovered in geological stratum dating back 100 million years and is 35.4 centimeters in length and 17.3 centimeters wide.
There is a trace of three asymmetrical spurs, the typical appearance of a pterosaur.
Before the discovery, the largest pterosaur footprint was that of the Haenamichnus, which was found in the southwestern city of Haenam, South Jeolla Province.
Paleontologist Martin Lockley of the University of Colorado reportedly told authorities, "It is highly likely that such traces belong to pterosaurs. This is the largest and one of the most well-maintained items in the world."
For global recognition, authorities will file the footprint with the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology at its 69th annual meeting in Bristol, U.K., later this month.
There are only nine countries with such ichnogenus (trace fossils) associated with pterosaurs, including Korea.
A campaign is underway to register Haenam, Hwasun, Boseong, and Yeosu in South Jeolla Province, and Goseong in South Gyeongsang Province, with the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Natural Heritage list for their wealth of dinosaur footprints.