By Shin Hwa-jeong, Guest Reporter
Have you ever been interested in dinosaurs? You may imagine a baby dinosaur “Dooly” which is a popular animation character in
. Dinosaurs that now live in the Korea Dinosaur Research Center (KDRC) of Chonnam National University (CNU) are totally different. A few CNUians may have heard the name of this center. It is located near the CNU main athletic fields on CNU Gwangju campus. If you walk along the side of the athletic field, you cannot miss the big, cute and green dinosaur picture on the wall of the building. Remember! The building is the KDRC. Want some more information? Let’s go into the dinosaur town!
On Ju0ne 7, 1999, CNU established the Dinosaur Study Institute for the first time in
. The Cultural Heritage Administration designated this center as the Cultural Assets Index Research Institute in April, 2001 and CNU changed its name to expand it to the CNU’s KDRC in October, 2001. The KDRC has led research activities on dinosaurs which lived around the south coast and the nearby small islands in
. The center has four departments for planning, research, and culture and information services. They have developed education programs about dinosaurs and have also provided data needed for the restoration of ancient circumstances in which dinosaur existed. Currently the center with
Province applied the dinosaurs’ fossilized footprints area on the south coast to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site through the Cultural Heritage Administration.
Inside of the KDRC
The KDRC has two buildings; one is for research activities and the exhibition of dinosaur-related resources like fossils and footprints and as an office to manage the center, while the other is for education programs for local residents about dinosaurs. Let’s go inside the center. Stepping into the exhibition building, you can see dinosaurs’ age period. As you are looking around, there will be real dinosaurs’ footsteps on the wall. All of the things in the KDRC are excavated from southern coast of our country by the KDRC researchers. It is genuine. On the first floor of the other building there is an exhibition room for promoting the inscription of the area of dinosaur footprints on the south coast of
, including Haenam, Hwasun, Yeosu, Goseong and Boseong on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
For a UNESCO World Heritage!
A great number of dinosaur fossils have been found all over the world, but the Korean south coast including Haenam, Hwasun, Yeosu, Goeseong and Boseong is an internationally recognized area of fossilized dinosaur footprints due to the abundance and diversity of the fossils. It is said that the density of fossil distribution of the site is the highest in the world. Especially well-preserved dinosaur fossils with its original shapes excavated in Boseong are estimated as a significant clue to unveil what species of dinosaurs lived in the Korean Peninusula during the Cretaceous period. Consequently, the site of dinosaus’ fossilized footprints on the south coast is very valuable and worthy of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
How was your short trip to the KDRC? Are dinosaurs more familiar to you than before? The KDRC researchers have revived dinosaurs that died about 65 millions years ago. Dinosaurs live on our campus and we can meet them anytime we want to. Quite fantastic! Whenever you feel bored because of your daily routine on campus, just visit the center with your friends. It surely refreshes you and brings you to the ancient time when dinosaurs were roaming. Now the KDRC is conducting a campaign to seek signatures for the south coast’s dinosaur fossil footprint site being inscribed on the World Heritage List. Our signatures have the possibility to affect an actual on-the-spot inspection by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) this August and ultimately the World Heritage Committee’s determination next year. We should join in the effort for the registration on the list. If you visit the center, please sign there. Do not miss it!
The Korean peninsula has good conditions to study on dinosaur ecology, how dinosaurs disappeared on Earth because there are a lot of remains, like dinosaurs’ fossils, footprints and eggs. So we researchers have studied past times and prepared for our future at the same time. Last January KDRC applied the dinosaurs’ fossilized footprints area on the south coast for a UNESCO World Heritage Site to the
Center through the Cultural Heritage Administration. Through an actual on-the-spot inspection by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in August and evaluation by the International Council on Monuments and Sites in the first half year of 2009, the World Heritage Committee will determine whether of not to inscribe it on the World Heritage List in the second half year of 2009. That is our biggest project of this year. We are very busy to prepare for it. I hope many students and citizens support us. This center is not only for studying dinosaur fossils and footprints but also for making students go on a journey to the world of dinosaurs. I really hope many CNUians take and show interest in our center.
Huh Min, Director of the KDRC said, “The inscription of the area on the World Heritage List will be a milestone of the center and CNU. It means that CNU will become famous and the center becomes a vital institute for the study on dinosaur ecology during the Cretaceous period and the study of the Earth’s structure and geology. The news media of the world will report our country to all the people on Earth. It is expected that the number of international tourists to our country will grow in the future, and further lead to improving the national image of