Geological Magazine

New pterosaur tracks (Pteraichnidae) from the Late Cretaceous Uhangri Formation, southwestern Korea

a1 Faculty of Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences & Dinosaur Research Center, Chonnam National University, Kwangju 500-757, Korea
a2 Department of Geology, University of Colorado at Denver, PO Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217, USA
a3 Institut für Paläontologie, Museum für Naturkunde, Zentralinstitut der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, D-10115 Berlin, Germany


Numerous footprints of dinosaurs, pterosaurs and birds, together with arthropod tracks, have been discovered in the upper Cretaceous Uhangri Formation which crops out along the south-western coastline of South Korea. This ichnofauna contains the first pterosaur tracks reported from Asia. The digitigrade tridactyl manus impressions exhibit features of a typical pterosaur hand print. The pes impressions, however, show features that are different from pterosaur footprints reported previously: there is no visible trace of impressions of individual digits, and the toes are triangular or rounded in shape distally without distinct claw impressions. As these features clearly distinguish the Uhangri tracks from Pteraichnus and Purbeckopus, we assign them to a new genus, Haenamichnus which accommodates the new ichnospecies, Haenamichnus uhangriensis. The prints are five to six times larger than those of Pteraichnus, and are currently the largest pterosaur ichnites known. They show virtually no trace of the 5th phalange of the pes, indicating that they were made by pterodactyloids; moreover, features of the tracks suggest that they can be attributed to azhdarchids, the commonest pterosaur of the Late Cretaceous. The longest pterosaur trackway yet known from any track site (length 7.3 m) and consisting of 14 pairs of foot impressions, was also found in the Uhangri Formation and suggests that azhdarchids, at least, were competent terrestrial locomotors. The fossil track site at Uhangri represents the first occurrence of the tracks of pterosaurs, dinosaurs and web-footed birds all on the same level. This demonstrates that pterosaurs and birds visited the same habitat, but the large size disparity suggests that they occupied different ecological niches.

(Received February 27 2001)
(Revised November 20 2001)
(Accepted March 4 2002)

Key Words: tracks; Pterosauria; South Korea; Upper Cretaceous.

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