No 'Barneys' Here, but Plenty of Tracks

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No 'Barneys' Here, but Plenty of Tracks

A group of dinosaurs stomped out of the woods toward a pond to get a drink of water. As they trudged along, the large, prehistoric animals sunk into the soft earth, leaving deep footprints in the ground.

Those footprints hardened and, later on, hot lava covered the entire area, preserving the tracks. As the lava bed eroded after millions of years, the footprints remained.

Today, you can see many such dinosaur tracks preserved on the beach of Sangjokam park in Goseong county, South Kyongsang province.

The footprints on the beach of Goseong county were discovered in 1982 and were officially declared a Korean natural monument in 1999. Because of the wealth of fossils in Goseong county, people call it the "Jurassic Park" of Korea.

All in all, there are about 4,300 dinosaur footprints found in 13 different villages in the area, including Deokmyeong-ri where the Sangjokam park is located.

At two of those villages, including Pangok-ri, there are some fossils of dinosaur eggs as well.

Due to the extreme popularity of dinosaurs among children, Sangjokam Park is a favorite attraction for families. During the school vacation period, the park is particularly crowded with parents and children who come to see those fossils.

Sin Seon-nyeo, a parent, visited the park with her son and three other families Sunday.

"My son is very interested in dinosaurs. He always keeps a book on dinosaurs with him and he can even recite all the different names of dinosaurs. We came here since I wanted to show him some fossil footprints of dinosaurs," Ms. Sin said.

On that day, children carrying books about dinosaurs were all over the place, and many visitors were taking pictures with a huge model of a dinosaur in the background.

At Sangjokam park, more than 2,000 fossils can be found on the beach. According to an analysis done by Im Seong-gyu, a professor at Kyungpook National University, and his team, the footprints belong to 13 different kinds of dinosaurs. Most of the footprints are clear and even beginners can recognize those marks easily.

Some of the most visible fossils can be found near Chotdae-bawi, a rock in the shape of a candlestick, located on the beach between Jejeon village and a county training center for young people.

There, you can find footprints up to 30 centimeters long scattered around the 3-meter-tall model dinosaur that stands on the beach.

The model dinosaur is an iguanodon, the most common beast to inhabit on the beach.

If you walk along the beach from the training center, you can see dozens of footprints walking forward in one direction. Follow them, and you will come to a cave where you can find footprints of a dinosaur that walked on four feet in a trail about 20 meters long.

If you feel tired after looking for and observing various fossils, you can freshen up by swimming at the beach in front of the training center.

The beach covered with black pebbles looks quite nice, and best of all, the beach is suitable for children to play in because the water is not very deep there.

by Kim Sang-jin

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