|This photo provided by the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage shows a fossilized dinosaur footprint found at the planned construction site of a dam to preserve the Bangudae Petroglyphs. (Yonhap News)|
More than 80 fossilized dinosaur tracks have been discovered at the foot of a cliff known for its set of prehistoric engravings, in the southeastern part of the country, a government think tank said Tuesday.
The National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage announced the discovery after providing results on an additional archeological survey on the areas surrounding the cliff in Ulsan.
Only 25 footprints had previously been discovered.
About 30 of the footprints were found in the rock bed of the river located roughly nine meters away from the cliff with the engravings, called the Bangudae Petroglyphs, etched into its rock face, the institute said.
The tracks include footprints of small theropods that are nine centimeters long and 5.4 centimeters wide. They are footprints that are possibly different from those previously discovered in the Gyeongsang provinces, it added.
The institute has continued the survey since the researchers first discovered the dinosaur tracks at the initial stage of the survey in October. The survey was conducted ahead of the planned construction of a movable dam, similar to a dike, in front of the prehistoric engravings to preserve them from erosion by flood waters.
The so-called “kinetic dam” will encircle the national treasure, located on the lower part of the cliff along the tributary of a river, according to officials.
South Korea plans to submit the Bangudae Petroglyphs for a UNESCO World Heritage designation by 2017.
The latest discovery has increased the number of sites where fossilized dinosaur footprints have been found in the Ulsan area ― 410 kilometers southeast of Seoul ― to 16, with 12 of them in concentrated areas near Daegok Stream.
Nine sites with fossilized dinosaur footprints in South Korea are classified as natural monuments.
Following the latest discovery, the Cultural Heritage Administration, the top government office in charge of the nation’s cultural assets, is considering ways to encircle Bangudae Cliff with an 80-meter dam in order to better preserve the newly found dinosaur tracks, according to sources. The proposed dam would be two times wider than the initially planned size of 40 meters. (Yonhap News)