We last left our intrepid ichnology adventurers enjoying a lunch of mul-naengmyeon. Here our party split up. Martin went back to Dr. Kim Kyung-soo's lab at Chinju University with Sujin to continue collecting data, making latex peels, and tracings of track slabs on to plastic sheets. Rich and I accompanied Dr. Kim to the Fossil Heritage Hall of the Gyeongsangnam-do Institute of Science Education. We were here to see the famous Early Cretaceous Gajin-ri track site. This site was written up scientifically by Kim Jeong-yul and coauthors in 2012 (Dr. Kim Kyung-soo was one of the authors), and it is famous for two main reasons. One, there are SO MANY BIRD TRACKS, with an estimated 600 bird tracks per square meter!
|Figure 3 from Kim et al. (2012). Each one of those marks is an individual bird footprint. This is glorious.|
|Tracks of Ignotornis gajinensis, with the bill scrape marks. I like to call them swooshes!|
|I love this image of a Eurasian Spoonbill for two reasons: a great view of the bill, and its showing off its foot.|
First, here's entrance sign. Do you see the bird tracks on the sign?
|There are three different bird track types on this sign, including the iconic Ignotornis gajinensis and the bill swooshes!|
We were eager to see the track surface, which the Center set up so that visitors can walk around the entire exposed surface at an upper and a lower level.
|The lower level allows visitors to get up close and personal with the track surface.|
|Sauropod trackway walking towards me.|
|Small (left) and large (right) sauropod trackways.|
Here is the trackway of a small non-avian theropod, walking among the trackways of sauropods and birds.
|Birds, theropods, and sauropods, oh my!|
Since some of the tracks on the middle part of the surface are hard to see, a series of cameras that project a close-up image of the Ignotornis gajinensis tracks on a huge projection screen. It also shows a projection of anyone working on the tracks, putting research on display. In this case, people got to see our socked feet.
|The socked foot of Dr. Richard McCrea next to the trackway (and bill swooshes!) of Ignotornis gajinensis. Dr. Kim and I had a bit of a chuckle over this picture.|
|Spoonbill and sandpiper-like birds fly over the future Gajin-ri track site 117 million years ago.|
|The untrained eye might think I'm pointing out sauropod tracks, but we all know I'm pointing out a really long bird trackway!|
|A flock of Koreanaornis track makers, likely running all over the lakeshore, looking for food.|
|Scientists like Dr. Kim Kyung-soo make awesome science interpretive displays.|
Scientists are great at communicating their science to the public.
Check out those awesome spoonbills!
|From left to right: Drs. Kim Kyung-soo, Lisa Buckley (me), and Richard McCrea.|
We went to a restaurant that only serves two dishes: two variations of stewed ribs. Let me tell you: when a restaurant focuses on one specialty, they do it up right. These ribs were delicious!
|I cannot begin to describe the mouth-watering aroma that came from this dish. I have not had better ribs.|
Kim JY, Lockley MG, Seo SJ, Kim KS, Kim SH, Baek KS. 2012. A paradise of Mesozoic birds: the world's richest and most diverse Cretaceous bird track assemblage from the Early Cretaceous Haman Formation of the Gajin Tracksite, Jinju, Korea. Ichnos 19(1-2): 28-42.