How Fast Could Dinosaurs Run


♪♪♪ Could a T. rex really outrun a jeep like in the movies? How would we even figure out how fast a dinosaur could run? If you have a series of footprints in a row, it’s call a trackway. Using simple mathematics of measuring the distance between footprints
in a trackway and the size of the animal’s feet, we can get an estimate of how fast it was moving at that moment. One problem is we cannot be totally sure who made a given trackway. Another is that the speed might not be the top speed of that animal. To get that, we have a few things
to draw on. One is the study of extant, or living animals. We know that birds and mammals are better analogues for
dinosaurs than lizards, for instance, so we can observe and record the movements of animals like horses, ostriches,
and even elephants to get an idea of how dinosaurs
could have moved. Lastly, we can rely on the science of biomechanics,
applying physics to understanding how animals move. Some scientists are combining these principles to build sophisticated
computer models of dinosaurs like T. rex and putting them through their paces to see how
the perform at different speeds. The top speed of a Tyrannosaurus before its foot bones would break? About 12 miles per hour. Not fast enough to chase a jeep, but fast enough to catch its prey. If you’d like to learn more about how we estimate dinosaur speeds, check out the American Museum of Natural
History Dinosaur Gallery at COSI. That’s it for Fossil Friday. Have a great weekend. ♪♪♪

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